DETROIT – The former treasurer of the Detroit Fire Department’s union has been charged with stealing more than $220,000 in union funds, officials said.
Verdine Day, 62, was hired by the department in 1986 and worked as a firefighter and engineer, as well as holding other positions, before being elected by her peers to become treasurer of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association in November 2015, according to federal authorities.
Day served as treasurer from December 2015 to September 2019, when she retired from DFFA and the city of Detroit, a release says.
While she was treasurer, Day fraudulently obtained about $167,900 in union funds by issuing checks in her name and changing the name of the payee in the union’s software, according to authorities.
Federal officials said she would also cash checks that were voided by her and write checks made payable to cash.
“Union officials are expected to serve with integrity, particularly when they are sworn to represent men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities,” said Timothy Waters, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit division.
Day used DFFA credit cards as her own personal cards while she was treasurer and after she retired, officials allege. She charged $52,143.65 in personal expenses on DFFA credit cards, federal authorities said. Those purchases included flights, hotel rooms, cruises, car insurance premiums, satellite and cable TV service, national and state park fees and furniture, authorities said.
“This prosecution demonstrates that we will not tolerate union officers who abuse their authority and line their own pockets at the expense of the union’s membership,” acting United States Attorney Saima Mohsin said. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to root out corruption and fraud involving unions.”
Specifically, officials said Day used a DFFA credit card to charge $9,553 for a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2017. She paid for an $8,795 Royal Caribbean cruise in 2019, according to a release.
Day paid a bill at an Ohio casino in May 2019 and another for a meal at Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant in Cozumel, Mexico, using the union’s credit card, officials said.
Day is facing charges of bank fraud and wire fraud. She could spend a maximum of 30 years in prison the bank fraud charge and a maximum of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge.