April 14, 2024
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Picture by Chris Stone

A former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer and ex-president of the union representing ICE workers in San Diego County was sentenced Wednesday to 4 months in jail for making an attempt to cover his embezzlement of hundreds of {dollars} in union dues.

Felix Luciano, 61, pleaded responsible earlier this 12 months to a federal depend of submitting a false monetary report, which prosecutors say was meant to hide that he’d taken $36,000 from the union.

Luciano served from 2011 to 2018 as president of American Federation of Authorities Workers Native 2805, which represents Division of Homeland Safety and ICE workers in San Diego and Imperial counties.

The U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace says Luciano took union dues to pay for his private bills, together with buying, journey reimbursements, groceries, eating and dry cleansing.

Based on a grand jury indictment returned in opposition to Luciano, he used Native 2805’s debit and bank cards to pay for these bills and wrote checks to himself from the union’s checking account.

Protection lawyer Eugene Iredale, who famous his shopper had devoted a “lifetime of service” to ICE and the U.S. Marine Corps, requested for a sentence of probation and mentioned Luciano would comply with serve 150 hours of group service.

Iredale famous that by the point of sentencing, Luciano had already paid the total restitution of $36,000 and agreed to pay a $10,000 wonderful.

In explaining Luciano’s offense, which Iredale mentioned was “not an try and keep away from acceptance of duty or acknowledgment of wrongdoing,” he acknowledged Luciano often labored round 60 hours or extra per week as union president, but the federal government solely paid him as much as 40 hours weekly.

Iredale assured U.S. District Choose Jinsook Ohta that Luciano was “deeply ashamed” of his conduct.

Luciano instructed the choose he was “deeply sorry for my actions” and apologized to the “503 members that I represented.” He mentioned, “I wish to put this matter behind me and proceed serving the group and be an excellent to society.”

Prosecutors say Luciano hid the embezzlement by falsifying the union’s annual monetary reviews. One such report in 2018 underreported how a lot cash he acquired from the union, in addition to the union’s money steadiness, which prosecutors allege was a bid to hide stolen funds.

Luciano retired because the native’s president in December 2018 in the middle of an audit of Native 2805 by the Division of Labor’s Workplace of Labor-Administration Requirements, in keeping with the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace.

Assistant U. S. Lawyer Christopher Alexander mentioned Luciano realized of that audit a few month previous to saying his retirement.

The prosecutor argued for custody as a result of the embezzlement occurred over a number of years and was “not an remoted incident.”

Ohta mentioned Luciano “embezzled these union funds on the tail finish of what was in any other case an exemplary life serving different individuals and doing a number of good,” however mentioned a custodial sentence was warranted because of the “actual abuse of belief to the union members.”