The union representing security employees of Amtrak, the nation’s federally-chartered rail passenger corporation, was missing funds. It didn’t have far to look for the source of the problem. On June 24, Eric Givens, a longtime Amtrak police officer, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with one count each of wire fraud, embezzlement and making a false statement related to his alleged theft of at least $100,000 in funds from the Amtrak Police Labor Committee, and a Fraternal Order of Police affiliate, each of which he had served as treasurer. He had been arrested earlier that day. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the Amtrak Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs.
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Eric Givens had been a police officer with National Railroad Passenger Corporation, or Amtrak, since May 1997. In addition, he was treasurer of Amtrak Police Labor Committee during 2003-10, and for three years after that, a committee affiliate known as Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 189. According to prosecutors, Givens, 52, a resident of East Stroudsburg, Pa., starting around 2008 helped himself to the union till. He allegedly made unauthorized debit card charges and cash withdrawals from the Labor Committee and Lodge, and then concealed these transactions in union financial records. The funds went for personal expenses such as food, gasoline, travel and entertainment. Eventually, the union leadership recognized it was missing funds and called upon the U.S. Labor Department to conduct an investigation.