ex-union leader charged with embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from a local union | USAO-SDCA


Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca S. Kanter (619) 546-7304

SUMMARY OF PRESS RELEASE – September 23, 2022

SAN DIEGO — A former Department of Homeland Security officer and president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2805 has been indicted by a federal grand jury for wire fraud and misrepresentation stemming from his alleged hijacking of tens of thousands dollars in Local 2805 union funds.

Felix Luciano was a suppression agent for immigration and customs. From around 2011 to December 2018, Luciano served as president of Local 2805, a union that represents DHS-ICE employees in San Diego and Imperial Counties. Among his legal obligations were maintaining the fiscal integrity of the organization, which prohibited him from engaging in any business or financial interests that conflicted with his obligations to Local 2805 and its members.

The indictment alleges that Luciano misappropriated union funds for his own benefit between December 2013 and until January 7, 2019. Luciano retired in December 2018 as part of an audit of Local 2805 by the Department of Labor Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS). Luciano allegedly used Local 2805 union dues to enrich himself and pay his personal expenses and those of his wife. Some of these expenses included luxury travel, payments to his personal credit card, payments to support his wife’s business (such as payment for the design of the company’s website), the purchase of secure storage for custom firearms, retail purchases, meals and groceries.

The indictment alleges that Luciano carried out this scheme to defraud Local 2805 by using his debit and credit card to pay for personal expenses and by writing checks to himself from the Local’s checking account with false descriptions such as “per diem” in the note line.

In order to conceal and obscure his embezzlement, Luciano fraudulently reported false information on Local 2805’s annual financial reports. Labor organizations are required to file financial reports with OLMS annually. On behalf of Local 2805, Luciano prepared, signed – under penalty of perjury – and filed financial reports (known as Form LM-3) with false information obscuring the nature, volume, frequency and purpose of unauthorized checks and other personal transactions. . For example, on the 2017 financial report, he falsely reported that Local 2805 only paid him $3,068 (directly or indirectly), when in fact the correct figure was over $20,000.

In doing so, Luciano hid the embezzlement from the Department of Labor, fellow union leaders, and union members whose dues were the source of the embezzled funds.

“When employees pay their hard-earned money to unions, they reasonably expect the leaders of those organizations to be honest stewards of their dues,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Our office will work diligently to prosecute violators who allegedly steal from their own unions at the expense of members. Grossman thanked the prosecution team and investigative agencies for their excellent work.

“The Office of Labor-Management Standards will always work hard to expose and bring to justice any public servant who chooses to violate the law and the faith of their union members by stealing,” said Ed Oquendo, district manager, office of district of Los Angeles, USA. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Management Standards.

Postal Inspector in charge of the Los Angeles Division, Carroll N. Harris, said: “When a public official abuses the U.S. mail for personal gain, postal inspectors will pursue him aggressively to restore confidence. of the public in the mail.”

An important mission of the Office of the Inspector General is to investigate allegations of fraud related to union corruption. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate these types of allegations,” said Quentin Heiden, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Area, Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of work.

Luciano was arraigned by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Berg and pleaded not guilty. Judge Berg set Luciano’s bond at $30,000 and ordered him to appear before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan on October 3, 2022 at 9 a.m. for a motion hearing.

* The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are only charges, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.

DEFENDANTS Case number 22CR2201-W

Felix Luciano Age: 60 San Diego, CA

FEES SUMMARY

Misrepresentation – Title 18, USC, Section 1001

Maximum penalty: five years in prison and a $250,000 fine

Wire Fraud – Title 18, USC Section 1343

Maximum sentence: 20 years in prison and $500,000 fine

AGENCY

Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Management Standards

Department of Labor – Office of the Inspector General

Homeland Security Investigations – Office of the Inspector General

United States Postal Inspector

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