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Records: Union secretary admits $200K theft

Jamie Satterfield, The Knoxville News-Sentinel • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:58 PM

(MCT) – An executive secretary for a union told investigators she stole more than $200,000 from the organization to lift her spirits, according to federal court records.

Reda Overton has struck a deal to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Tennessee to charges of embezzlement and theft of labor union assets.

According to the plea agreement, Overton stole just more than $206,000 from the Locomotive Engineers International Brotherhood of Teamsters General Committee of Adjustments, a labor union whose members include employees of Norfolk Southern Railway.

Overton worked as an executive secretary for the union, although the plea agreement does not indicate where in East Tennessee her office was located. Her thievery, according to records, spanned more than three years – from December 2008 to March 2012.

The plea agreement states Overton stole from the union by overpaying herself, transferring thousands of dollars at a time to her personal bank account.

She left the union job in June 2012. More than a year later, investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor interviewed Overton about the embezzlement, according to records. It is not clear from court records when the theft was actually discovered.

Overton confessed to investigators, according to the plea agreement.

"During that interview, (Overton) stated that she paid herself additional pay on top of her legitimate salary and for weeks that she was not entitled to receive any pay," the document states. "She stated further that she knew her actions were wrong and illegal but did it anyway and did so to make herself feel better because she was going through a time in her life when she did not feel good about herself."

In a deal brokered between Assistant U.S. Attorney Brooklyn Sawyers and defense attorney Kevin Angel, Overton has agreed to skip a grand jury review of the charges. Although the plea agreement has been filed, a date for the formal entry of her plea has not been set.

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