Former Detroit Firefighters’ Union Treasurer Sentenced To Federal Prison

The former treasurer for Detroit Firefighters IAFF Local 344 has been sentenced to serve one year in federal prison following her guilty plea to embezzling over $200,000. Verdine Day was also ordered to pay restitution of $220,043 to Local 344, and will be on supervised release once her prison term is complete.

A press release issued by U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison details the extent of Day’s crimes. Quoting from the press release:

  • Day was hired by the Detroit Fire Department in 1986.  She worked as a firefighter, engineer, and held other positions in the union before she was elected by her peers to Treasurer of the DFFA in November 2015. 
  • She was Treasurer from December 2015 until her retirement from the DFFA and the City of Detroit in September 2019. 
  • During the four years Day was Treasurer of the DFFA, she fraudulently obtained approximately $167,900.00 of union funds by (1) issuing checks in her name and then changing the name of the payee in the Union’s Quickbooks software; (2) cashing checks which were voided by her in Quickbooks; (3) writing checks made payable to cash; and (4) withdrawing cash from DFFA bank accounts.
  • Day also fraudulently obtained money by diverting funds intended by the DFFA to be a donation to the NAACP.
  • Day also used DFFA credit cards as her own personal credit cards while she was Treasurer and after she retired. In total, she charged approximately $49,116.17 in personal expenses using DFFA credit cards. 
  • Her purchases on DFFA credit cards included flights, hotel rooms, cruises, car insurance premiums, satellite and cable TV service, national and state parks fees, and furniture. For example, Day used a DFFA union credit card to charge $9,553 for a cruise with Royal Caribbean cruise lines in 2017. 
  • Day also used a union credit card to pay for another Royal Caribbean cruise costing $8,975 on the Liberty of the Seas in 2019. 
  • She used the union’s credit card to pay her bar bill at a casino in Ohio in May 2019 and for a meal at a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant in Cozumel, Mexico in 2019.

According to Macomb Daily, Local 344 is suing Day to recover $292,500 with interest and taxes, plus treble damages that would bring the total to $877,500.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
x

Check Also

Ohio Firefighters Sue to Force Arbitration of COVID Sick Leave Grievance

Youngstown Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 312, has filed suit against the City of Youngstown seeking an order compelling the city to arbitrate implementation of a change to quarantine procedures for COVID 19 exposures. The suit follows three years of labor-management discord resulting in over 45 grievances, and three unfair labor practices charges against the city.

Fire Law Roundup for June 6, 2022

In this episode of Fire Law Roundup for June 6, 2022, Paul Doughty joins Curt for a discussion of a sexual-harassment-suicide case out of Illinois; a firefighter guilty plea in a drug case out of Massachusetts; the filing of a race-discrimination suit out of California; and a ruling in favor of a fire department in a race discrimination suit out of Virginia.