BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The former president of the union representing thousands of workers at Smithfield Foods has admitted to embezzling union assets for personal use.
Keith Alan Ludlum, 48, of Bladenboro, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy and embezzlement of labor union assets, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. He faces a combined maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, a fine of $10,000, and restitution.
Ludlum, who was elected president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (“UFCW”), Local Union 1208 in 2011, was initially charged in an indictment filed on April 17, 2019.
The criminal investigation into Ludlum and the union’s then-secretary/treasurer, Terry Slaughter, arose after a complaint-driven audit performed by the international arm of the union in 2014 revealed the pair had misused more than $200,000 in union funds by issuing unauthorized checks and making unauthorized purchases with their assigned debit cards.
The union was placed under trusteeship following the audit, removing Ludlum and Slaughter from their respective positions.
Slaughter, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement of labor union assets in February 2019, faces a maximum sentence 5 years imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, a $10,000 fine, and restitution.