Friday, July 12, 2024

San Diego Labor Leader Allegedly Betrayed Union Members, Feds Say

A federal grand jury in San Diego late last week indicted a former Department of Homeland Security officer and an ex-labor union leader on a charge of wire fraud.

That man, Felix Luciano, 60, allegedly made false statements after he allegedly embezzled tens of thousands of dollars of union funds. 

This, according to a statement that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California published Monday. 

Luciano was president of the American Federation of Government Employees from 2011 through 2018. The union represents Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees in San Diego and Imperial Counties. Luciano was once an enforcement removal officer for ICE.

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“The indictment alleges that Luciano embezzled union funds for his own benefit between December 2013 and continuing into January 7, 2019. Luciano retired in December 2018 in the course of an audit of Local 2805 by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS),” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

“Luciano is alleged to have used Local 2805’s union dues to enrich himself and pay for personal expenses for himself and his spouse. Some of those expenses included luxury travel, payments to his personal credit card, payments to support his wife’s business (such as paying for the business’ website design), purchase of a custom gun safe storage, retail purchases, dining, and groceries. The indictment alleges that Luciano carried out this scheme to defraud Local 2805 by using its debit and credit card to pay his personal expenses and by writing checks to himself from the Local’s checking account with false descriptions such as ‘per diem’ in the memo line.”

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To conceal his activities, Luciano allegedly reported false information on Local 2805’s annual financial reports. Labor organizations must file financial reports with the federal OLMS Standards annually. 

“On behalf of Local 2805, Luciano prepared, signed – under penalty of perjury – and filed the financial reports (known as Form LM-3s) with false information that disguised the nature, volume, frequency and purpose of the unauthorized checks and other personal transactions,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

“For example, on the 2017 financial report, he falsely reported that Local 2805 only disbursed $3,068 to him (directly or indirectly), when in fact the correct figure was over $20,000.”

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