A man pleaded guilty after stealing over $40,000 from a Wallula labor union to fund trips to Arizona to see his girlfriend.

Jason A. Richard pleaded guilty about 2 months after being charged in Federal Court for one felony charge of embezzling labor union funds.

Richard says he was depressed from his mother passing and was connecting with an old friend in Arizona to get him through life. That old became his girlfriend and then later his wife.

Richard has made two payments that totaled around $9,400 in restitution and promises to pay back the rest of the money he took, according to reports.

Richard was able to take money from the account because he realized a loop hole at the bank that only required one signature for withdrawls.

In total, Richard made four unauthorized checks to himself, 74 debit card purchases, and 25 transfers for personal use.

The union members are workers of the Packaging Corporation of America that operates a Boise Paper mill around 15 miles southeast of Pasco.

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