Laurel Man Pleads Guilty to Falsification of an Annual Financial Report Filed by a Labor Union

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

Gulfport, Miss.- A Laurel man pled guilty to falsification of an annual financial report filed by a labor union, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Supervisory Investigator Tara Thibodaux of the U. S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards, in New Orleans.

According to court documents, on February 8, 2018, Benton Ryals, Jr. a/k/a B. J. Ryals, 70, while holding the position of financial secretary with the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 1437, in Laurel, Mississippi, failed to disclose a material fact in an annual financial report required to be filed by the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 1437, with the Secretary of Labor. Specifically, Ryals knowingly failed to disclose in form LM-3, for the union’s fiscal year for January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017, disbursements he received for personal use. Ryals used debit cards and checks written from the branch’s checking account for his own personal bill payments.

Ryals will be sentenced on January 24, 2023, at 1:30 p.m., in Hattiesburg. He faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case was investigated by the U. S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Jones.