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Hemphill gets 11 years for stealing from WTU
Ex-treasurer to be sentenced June 5
(Published May 29, 2006)

Former Washington Teachers Union official Gwendolyn M. Hemphill has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for her role in a scheme that robbed the organization's treasury of nearly $5 million over a seven-year period.

Under the sentence imposed May 22 by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon, Hemphill also will be required to complete three years of community service following her prison term and must repay, along with her co-conspirators, $4.2 million stolen from the union.

She will remain free until July 22, when she is required to surrender to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving her prison term.

Hemphill, who served as executive assistant to then-union president Barbara Bullock and was co-chairman of Mayor Anthony A. Williams' 2002 re-election campaign, was convicted last Aug. 31 on 23 criminal counts involving conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, false statements, embezzlement, money laundering, making a false record, theft and helping prepare a false tax return.

Former union treasurer James O. Baxter II, who was tried along with Hemphill and also convicted on 23 counts, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 5. Baxter faces at least eight years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

In 2003, Bullock pleaded guilty to her role in a conspiracy to steal at least $4.6 million during 1996 to 2002 while she was president of the union, which represents D.C. public school teachers. She is serving a nine-year prison sentence and testified during last year's trial that Hemphill and Baxter helped her steal from the union.

Copyright 2006 The Common Denominator