Tyrone Freeman former President of SEIU has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for profiting from his low-income members to finance a wealthy lifestyle.
Freeman a pillar of the community has now failed due to his selfish gains and is facing the repercussions for his disloyalty.
According to latimes.com, "he lost sight of his mission," U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins said of Freeman, once a rising star in the national labor movement who headed a Los Angeles-based local of the powerful Service Employees International Union.”
Collins has ordered Freeman to pay $150,000 in restitution and suspended his privileges of holding office in any union for 13 years after he is released from prison.
Latimes.com reports that her sentencing decision was "difficult" because Freeman overcame a harsh childhood to achieve impressive accomplishments as a labor leader at a young age. She also credited him with trying to turn his life around during the last several years. "He's working on getting it back together," Collins said.
Freeman who has realized his indiscretions, sought for understanding and empathy prior to his sentencing.
According to latimes.com, Freeman stood before the judge and cried as he asked for leniency, acknowledging that his "bad decisions" hurt the workers and his family.
"May God have mercy on me," said Freeman. "I am accountable for these bad decisions."
His remorse fell on deaf ears as prosecutors felt his punishment should have been greater. Assistant U.S. Atty. Elisa Fernandez was not in favor of his sentencing, pointing out how he took advantage of the community.
Freeman’s transgressions include bigamy, sexual liaisons, embezzlement and exploitation.
Latimes.com reports that his defense team urged for a lighter punishment based on his leadership in the community, however, Freeman's attorney stated that he is grateful that the court rejected the government's request for a longer sentence and that he is focused on making amends to his family, friends and community, as he has been over the past five years."
Freeman will begin his sentence later this year.