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Union Boss Admits|He Embezzled

HOUSTON (CN) - A former union boss faces up to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to embezzle from the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Ronald Witt, 65, of Galveston, was the former business manager and leader of the union's Local 450. He admitted to U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt that he used union money to pay for luxury trips for himself and friends and to remodel his home, and that he covered it up by forging Local 450's business records.

Witt is free on bond pending sentencing on April 23. In addition to prison, he could be fined up to $250,000, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Local 450 represents 1,000 members in the crane rigging and hoisting industry in southern and eastern Texas.

Witt resigned from his union leadership posts in April 2009.

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