Hillsboro man pleads guilty to stealing from St. Helens union
A Hillsboro man pleaded guilty Thursday, Dec. 20, to stealing from a St. Helens labor union while serving as its president.
John Jason Burgess entered a guilty plea to a federal charge of concealing or destroying labor union records, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Oregon said. He could face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
According to prosecutors, Burgess, 43, admitted to taking more than $32,000 in union funds for personal use during his time as president of Local 304 and failing to disclose his receipts as required by the federal Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
Burgess served as president of Local 304 from 2008 until he was fired from Pacific Stainless Products, a manufacturing company based in St. Helens, in January 2016, making him ineligible for union membership.
Local 304 represents about 140 employees of Pacific Stainless Products, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Burgess was added as a signatory to the union's bank account in 2011 and was issued a debit card linked to the account.
While Burgess returned the debit card after being fired in 2016, he did not turn over the financial records he was legally required to keep as president, prosecutors said. The U.S. Department of Labor opened an investigation into Burgess that led to a federal court case in Portland.
Burgess is required to pay $10,600 in restitution to Local 304 as part of his guilty plea. He has already repaid $21,580 to the union, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Sentencing is set for April 10, 2019, in U.S. District Court.