Lake County woman who embezzled $300k from plumbers’ union gets 18 months in prison

A 60-year-old bookkeeper for a union comprised of plumbers from Lake, Seminole, Osceola, and Orange counties was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for embezzling $300,000 in labor union funds.

Denise E. Kovacs received the sentence this week from U.S. District Judge Wendy W. Berger of the Middle District Court of Florida.

According to court records, Kovacs was employed as a bookkeeper for the Plumbers AFL-CIO Local 803, a labor union founded over 100 years ago that represents more than 700 plumbers and pipefitters across Central Florida.

Over a five-year period of employment, Kovcas stole $43,777 in cash from union dues and charged $261,126 in expenses on the union’s credit card.

To conceal her theft, Kovacs altered internal business records and effectively kept union officials unaware about her ongoing embezzlement efforts.

Kovacs, who is from Clermont, had faced a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

In addition to spending 18 months behind bars, Kovacs must also pay $304,903.27 in restitution and will have three years of supervised release.

According to its website, the union was founded in 1920 and represents more than 700 members across central Florida.

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