The former treasurer of an entertainment industry union that raked in money during Alaska’s film-making boom is charged with stealing nearly $200,000 from the union.
Anchorage resident Ann Reddig, 62, is charged in federal court with embezzlement and forgery.
Reddig has a court date set for later this month but she is not in custody. Prosecutors refuse to comment on whether they know where to find Reddig.
It was during the heyday of Alaska’s brief film tax credit program that union membership expanded at the local chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts.
That means union dues also grew at IATSE Local 918, as it is called.
Reddig had been with the organization since 2007 and handled the union’s money during the state’s movie- and TV-making boom.
It was not until after the state’s tax credits ended that, according to the charges, Reddig started stealing. That was in 2010, the charges say.
In 2013, the union’s checks for things like rent and utilities started bouncing.
“You know, I was totally stunned. I’d never been involved in anything of this nature,” Richard Benavides said, who was the union chapter president at the time. “All of this is going on, and we’re having monthly meetings of the executive board, and all of us sitting there, and this person is sitting there with you having this normal conversation with you and you have no idea.”
During an audit later, Benavides said, he became aware of checks on which his signature was forged and saw some written on the union’s account to people like Reddig’s mother, who lives out-of-state in a nursing home.
Ultimately, the union realized its accounts had been wiped out. The charges say Reddig took a total of $192,250.
When the alleged crime became clear to Benavides and the other union leadership, he asked Reddig to resign, he said.
“I said, ‘Why would you even do this kind of thing? I don’t understand this. I feel so betrayed.’ And she basically just said, ‘I don’t know Richard, I don’t know what to tell you. I can’t explain it.’ And she started to tear up, and she was obviously upset,” Benavides said.. “She never really did tell me anything, she just told me that she didn’t understand it herself.”
According to court records, Reddig was formally charged on Friday. She has a court date set for June 26, and the court has issued her a summons.
It is not uncommon for a person facing such charges to remain out of custody until a detention hearing, but when we asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office, it was unclear if the authorities know where to find Reddig in the event that she does not show up for court.
When asked if law enforcement had served the summons or were actively looking for Reddig, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Chloe Martin wrote in an email, “Our office has no further comment.”
Alaska Public Media could not reach Reddig herself for comment.