Frankie Sanders: Union Boss Put in Travel Vouchers for Hotels Closed by Katrina

If you're going to rip your union off for $10,000 by putting in fake travel vouchers, don't put in one showing you stayed at a New Orleans hotel while it was closed because of huge Hurricane Katrina damage.

It's just common sense. Con Artist 101. Put in a voucher for Phoenix or something.

Frankie Sanders, 48, a Houstonian who used to be an officer in the American Postal Workers Union, will be serving 18 months in a federal prison for ignoring that simple lesson.

Sanders was convicted last year of putting in fake vouchers, including one for the Hilton Garden Inn in New Orleans "during the time period covered by the vouchers due to wind, water and significant roof damages from Hurricane Katrina," the U.S. Attorney's Office says.

And that kind of makes it easy to check out.

Also not helping matters was that "the hotel receipts could not have been generated by the Hilton's system because the Hilton's computers, server and smart chip were not operational during the dates of the alleged stays," as the USAO says.

They say he did the same thing with a Hilton Garden Inn in Dallas, which was closed for the same reasons, but we can't find any evidence Dallas received much Katrina damage. Maybe the hotel was not taking guests like Sanders because it was packed with Katrina victims at the time. We have a call in to clarify, and we'll update when we hear back.

Sanders had been with the postal service since 1982, and had been southern regional coordinator of the APWU based in Houston. He was part of the union team designated to deal with Katrina issues.

Update: The USAO tells us that while Sanders submitted bogus receipts for both the New Orleans and Dallas hotels, only the New Orleans one was closed at the time of the purported stay due to Katrina.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly