The former secretary-treasurer of Local S6 of the machinists’ union at Bath Iron Works was indicted Wednesday for allegedly embezzling $281,000 in union funds.
Ryan Jones, 34, of Bath, a machinist for 15 years at BIW, is charged with the federal crime of embezzlement of union funds, a Class C felony, according to court documents. Jones is accused of embezzling the funds between May 2012 and November 2016 while serving as secretary-treasurer of Local S6 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
According to documents, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Perry has requested a summons for Jones.
If convicted, the maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In a statement Thursday afternoon, IAM Grand Lodge officials said the grand lodge had discovered the missing funds and conducted an internal investigation according to the terms of the union’s constitution. That investigation determined that no other current or past Local S6 officers were involved in the alleged theft, according to the statement.
“The union found that the former officer misappropriated these funds and barred him from holding union office,” the statement continues. “The union then on its own initiative informed the Department of Labor of this theft and turned over all documents to the DOL, which resulted in this indictment.”
Officials said the union has filed a claim with its bonding company and expects full restitution to be paid to members of Local S6.
Jones is represented by Portland attorney Richard Berne, who did not immediately return a phone call Thursday.
Local S6 President Mike Keenan referred calls to the district union office.
Keenan, a shipfitter, served as president of Local S6 from 2001 to 2008 and was re-elected in October, along with Vice President Rocky Grenier and Secretary-Treasurer Jason Perry. They took office in January.
Jones served a secretary-treasurer of the local from 2010 to early this year. He was elected in October 2009 as the local union was resuming control of its operations after it was placed under trusteeship in 2008 amid charges of financial improprieties, The Forecaster reported.
Jones served as chairman of the S6 Legislative Committee. In a February column for the Portland Press Herald, he urged Maine’s congressional delegation to vote against Andrew Puzder as the new secretary of the Department of Labor.
“Workers at the shipyard where I work are like most others in Maine,” he wrote. “We get up every day, we go to work and we do our best for our co-workers and our employer. We work hard. We just ask that in return we get a fair shake: wages to provide for our family, a safe workplace, rights on the job and a chance to continue to improve our lives.”
BIW spokesman David Hench said the company had no comment.
In March, Jonathan Battaglia, a spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, confirmed the ongoing investigation.
Battaglia did not immediately return a phone call Thursday.