Feds Indict Alamedan

On Thursday, Aug. 29, the United States Attorney’s office and U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards, announced that a federal grand jury handed down a felony indictment charging Alameda resident Kenneth Morris with five counts of bank fraud and three counts of theft of union assets.

According to the indictment filed Thursday, Aug. 22, and unsealed the next day, Morris worked as the treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers Local 2240. The union represents teachers, counselors and librarians who work for the Catholic Diocese of San Jose and the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. 

As treasurer, Morris received the union’s dues checks. The indictment alleges that — instead of depositing the checks into the union’s bank account — Morris endorsed the checks and deposited them into his personal bank account. The indictment describes five such deposits, each between $1,000 and $4,000 that Morris allegedly made between Sept. 10 and Dec. 10, 2018. 

The indictment also charges Morris with stealing union property on three additional occasions between Nov. 13, 2017, and Jan. 12, 2018. According to the indictment, the combined value of the additional property stolen amounts to $18,720.75. 

Morris made his initial federal court appearance last Thursday, Aug. 29, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte. He was arraigned, pleaded not guilty and was released on bond. Morris’ next appearance — a status conference before Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer — is scheduled for Sept. 18. 

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed; Morris is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, he faces maximum terms of 30 years in prison for each of the five bank fraud counts and 5 years for each of the 3 counts of theft of union assets.