The former president of one of California's most-prominent unions was sentenced on Thursday to four months in prison and three months of home confinement after he defrauded a nonprofit organization out of $52,000, cash the official said he used to launch a reelection campaign, federal officials announced.
Sixty-six-year-old Alejandro Stephens is the former president of now-defunct Service Employees International Union Local 660. Federal authorities say he set up a scheme that funneled money from the Voter Improvement Project, a civic-participation-outreach group set up by the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, a powerful political umbrella that represents area labor factions.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in L.A., Stephens and some friends and family members set up "bogus consulting agreements" with the VIP organization, agreements that concluded with pay for work that was never done.
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"At sentencing, Stephens admitted for the first time that he had used the money taken from VIP for his 2004 SEIU Local 660 re-election campaign," states the U.S. Attorney's Office.