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> The head of the powerful union representing border patrol agents nationwide said the FBI is working to identify who stole some $500,000 out of the coffers of the El Paso local.

> Rumors that the local’s coffers had been looted through a long-running embezzlement scheme had been circulating through the ranks of the Border Patrol since 2018, after a change in the leadership of the local. But it wasn’t *until last November that Judd told a gathering of concerned agents in El Paso exactly how much money was missing.

> According to an audio recording obtained by ProPublica, Judd told the agents that forensic auditors hired by the union had discovered “$352,389.31 that was misappropriated. They also found that there was another $150,035.65 that was not properly paid to the IRS in tax money. Somebody pocketed it, just up and walked away.”

> The FBI did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman with the Department of Labor would neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.

Judd, who was recently elected to a third term as president of the national union, said the auditors, who examined the local’s financial records over a nearly 10-year span, found “many, many discrepancies.”

four agents who spoke to ProPublica expressed concerns about the activities of the former head of the local, Robert Russell, and his sister, Dawn Munoz, who handled the local’s finances and prepared its taxes for a decade.
Russell served as the local’s president from 2014 to 2017 and was one of a handful of people with access to its funds, according to interviews and documents filed with the Department of Labor. He was first voted onto the local’s executive board in 2004.
In the spring of 2018, after Russell had stepped down as president, the local fired Munoz. Union officials said it was only then that they learned that the finances were in disarray and hired a forensic auditor to scour the books.

> At a union meeting last summer, Joe Frescas, the current local president, ran through the steps the local had taken to recoup the missing funds. Frescas said union leaders were seeking reimbursement for the stolen funds from the local’s insurer — federal law requires unions to retain insurance to cover any “losses caused by acts of fraud or dishonesty by officers” — and said the local was preparing a civil lawsuit against Munoz’s company, Tax Solutions & Accounting.

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