Former Union Officer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement Scheme That Generated More Than $500,000

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

            WASHINGTON – A former union officer pleaded guilty today to conspiring to steal more than $500,000 from the labor organization, using the money for parties, trips, furniture, and other personal expenses.

            Attia Little, 43, of Temple Hills, Maryland, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of conspiracy and one count of theft from a labor organization. She is to be sentenced on Nov. 4, 2022, by the Honorable Amit P. Mehta. Under federal sentencing, she faces a likely range of 30 to 37 months in prison and potential financial penalties. The plea agreement calls for Little to pay restitution. 

            The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Troy W. Springer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General.

            Little was the operations manager of the Property Services Division of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), headquartered in Washington, D.C. As part of her duties, she managed administrative support, booked reservations for SEIU employees, and paid vendor invoices for union-related purchases. She had a work-issued credit card and access to third-party discount travel booking platforms that were to be used for union business only.

            A co-defendant, Melba Norris, was a close associate of Little’s, and had no affiliation with the union. According to plea documents, between November 2015 and October 2017, Little used her access to the credit card and travel booking platforms to embezzle approximately $503,600 from SEIU. In total, she kept approximately $460,900 in SEIU funds for herself, and Norris kept approximately $42,700.

            Among other things, Little used the SEIU credit card to purchase personal items, including purchases for a baby, personal parties hosted at her residence, personal travel, furniture, watches, clothing, and video games. She also used the credit card to purchase gift cards for personal use. Little also used the credit card to pay funds to a company that she created and companies created and controlled by Norris, even though no work was performed.

            Norris, 36, of Powder Springs, Georgia, pleaded guilty in May 2022 to charges of conspiracy and theft from a labor organization. She is to be sentenced on Oct. 7, 2022. 

            In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Graves and Acting Special Agent in Charge Springer commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Labor Department’s Office of the Inspector General and Office of Labor-Management Standards. They also expressed appreciation for the work of those who handled the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Financial Analyst Bryan Snitselaar, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ahmed M. Baset, who investigated and prosecuted the matter.