FARGO — A former union leader from Fargo will avoid federal prison time for embezzling more than $100,000 from his organization, though he will have to spend a half year on house arrest, a judge ruled Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Per a joint agreement from prosecutors and the defense, U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor sentenced Chad Michael Waldoch, 46, on Wednesday in Fargo’s federal courthouse to time served and 30 months of supervised probation. First, Waldoch must serve six months under home detention, Traynor ordered.
The former union leader who previously pleaded guilty in the case faced up to five years in prison for embezzling $107,706 from the SMART Local 980 between Jan. 11, 2011, and Oct. 23, 2017, when he was the union’s secretary-treasurer.
His attorney, Luke Heck, said Waldoch took responsibility for his actions and worked to reach a settlement with the union before he was indicted in federal court on Jan. 15.
Before Wednesday’s hearing, Waldoch had paid back more than half of what he embezzled, Heck said.
The defense also noted Waldoch’s lack of criminal history and desire to atone for his crime.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t regret it,” Waldoch said of embezzling the money. “I hope I get the opportunity to make the union whole again.”
Prosecutors, the defense and SMART agreed Waldoch needs to pay about $50,000 more to fulfill his restitution requirements.
Traynor acknowledged Waldoch’s willingness to take responsibility, but the judge ordered some house arrest because he felt it wasn’t fair to society that he get no detention time.
He noted people who steal $1,000 typically spend some time behind bars.
Waldoch turned himself in to law enforcement on Feb. 14 but was released the same day, according to court documents.