BENTON, Ill. – A former labor union president from Alton, Illinois, appeared in federal court Tuesday and admitted embezzling more than $200,000 from the organization.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois said Byron Clemons, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen money.

According to court documents, Clemons served as president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 124 from June 2017 through January 2022. Between February 2021 and January 2022, Clemons withdrew $202,100 from the union’s U.S. Bank account, and used that money for personal expenses and to gamble at casinos.

“Labor unions exist to promote the interests of the working men and women who make up their ranks. But instead of promoting the interests of his members, Clemons used his position to enrich himself and get cash to gamble at casinos,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Cutchin said. 

Clemons will be sentenced on July 20.