Ex-Arizona prison guard union boss gets theft prison time

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PHOENIX (AP) — The former president of the union that represents Arizona's corrections officers has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for embezzling money from the union treasury, the Arizona Attorney General's office announced Friday.

Darren Sikes, 60, was president of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association from 2016 to 2019 and used the union's funds for personal expenses. He was ordered to repay $134,000 to the union after spending the money on items including a patio for his home and a vehicle.

Sikes pleaded guilty to three felonies, including fraud and theft, and was sentenced on Thursday.

Sikes' daughter, Samantha Sikes, 25, was also charged and convicted. She was formerly the union's secretary and also pleaded guilty in July to fraud and two theft counts. She was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered to pay restitution of $23,074 to the union, according to court records.

Darren Sikes was ousted after other union members began to suspect he and others were illegally tapping union funds. The other union members made a report to the attorney general's office, according to a 2019 report from Phoenix television station ABC-15.

A phone message seeking comment from the union wasn't immediately returned on Friday. The union represents many of Arizona's approximately 5,000 state corrections officers.

The Associated Press

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