The former business manager for the carpenters union, local 455 in Somerville, New Jersey was sentenced Wednesday to 28 months in prison for embezzling about $85,000 in union funds. Shawn Clark, 45, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to embezzle, arising from the personal use of a union American Express card over a period of seven years.
Clark spent about $65,000 of the total at strip bars across the state, sometimes charging up to $1,000 in a single day. Prosecutors said that Clark visited the clubs once or twice a week and loaded up on beer, wine and shots of liquor. During the period between 2000 and 2007, Clark visited the clubs about 450 times on “union business.”
Clark’s lawyer, John J. Fahy, defended his client saying that the charges at the strip joints were effectively approved by union members as part of his job responsibility, requiring him to solicit new business with contractors and construction companies. He said that the union’s clients didn’t want to be entertained at country clubs, but instead, at go-go bars.