HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The treasurer of the Honolulu branch of the letter carriers union pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to embezzling more than $80,000 from the union to feed his gambling habit.
David M. Ing, 46, has been the treasurer of branch 860 of the National Association of Letter Carriers for about 14 years. He works as a mailman out of a Sand Island postal facility.
He appeared in federal court Thursday afternoon to plead guilty to stealing $83,293 in union funds.
"Because of a gambling problem, I forged checks and stole money from the union treasury," Ing told Federal Judge Kevin Chang.
According to a federal charging document filed Thursday, Ing stole the union funds from January through December of 2011.
Ing's attorney, Reginald Minn, said his client has paid more than $79,000 of the money back to the union.
Ing and Minn declined an interview outside the federal courtroom Thursday afternoon.
Ing is the treasurer for branch 860 of the union that represents 700 letter carriers who work in zip codes starting with 968, covering Hawaii Kai through Honolulu Airport. The mail carriers represented by that branch of the union also deliver mail in Ewa Beach, Kaneohe, Waimanalo, Haleiwa and Laie.
As treasurer, Ing oversaw the union's annual spending of $227,703 in the year ending July 1, 2011, according to paperwork filed with the U.S. Labor Department.
The union reported Ing earned $11,127 for his union treasurer position.
The federal labor department sent Ing a letter in 2008, finding several union record keeping violations.
An audit by U.S. Labor Department investigators found inadequate documentation of $3,517 in union reimbursements for purchases at the Pearl Harbor naval exchange, along with train trips on Amtrak and hotel stays at Circus Circus hotel and casino in Las Vegas.
The audit also discovered the letter carriers union failed to submit itemized receipts for 14 restaurant charges paid for with union funds worth $3,789.
When he is sentenced Sept. 17, Ing could face a maximum 10 years in federal prison.
But he'll most likely get a much lesser sentence, since he doesn't have a criminal record, he pleaded guilty and paid back almost all the money he stole.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Labor Department and IRS Criminal Investigation.
Ing has told friends he has a gambling addiction, according to a friend familiar with the case who asked not to be identified.
"He acknowledged what he did and he made full restitution. Now he's dealing with the consequences of his actions," the friend said.
The union's quarterly audits failed to catch the improper payments and forgeries that continued from Jan. to Dec. of 2011, a source said. A local bank noticed a high amount of money going from the union's account to the same person and notified union officials of late last fall, triggering the investigation, a source said.