More than $500,000 is missing from the Border Patrol Union and the FBI is conducting an investigation into an embezzlement scheme likely to bring indictments, according to Pro Publica.
In audio obtained by the investigative watchdog, Border Patrol Union President Brandon Judd told auditors about "$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," Judd concluded. "We expect there will be indictments."
The Department of Labor is reportedly working with the FBI to root out the corruption in the El Paso, Texas, sector that represents more than 1,400 agents across west Texas and New Mexico, according to the report.
"It's a slap in the face," an agent and union member told Pro Publica. "This place is notorious for having people in leadership positions who don't have any leadership skills — and that's both in management and the union."
That is not all the Border Patrol has gone through amid intense scrutiny during the Trump administration over its immigration procedures, treatment of those at detention facilities, migrant deaths, and alarmingly insensitive and vulgar remarks on a private Facebook group.
Former El Paso head Robert Russell (2014-'17), and his sister, Dawn Munoz, who handled the finances and taxes are under the microscope, four agents told Pro Publica.
After Russell stepped down as president, Munoz, who had a record of financial crimes in the 1990s, was fired in spring 2018, sparking the audit that turned up "many discrepancies," per the report.
"I don't think there's any money missing," said Russell, who added the allegations are concocted to "to take the heat off of themselves" and "it's purely politically motivated, nothing more."
But Judd rejected Russell's claim, telling Pro Publica: "The FBI is way too busy to investigate hoaxes."
Agents in El Paso are skeptical more money is being hidden or stolen from the union.
"In the last two years the financial controls have been a little better, but not a lot," an agent told Pro Publica. "Money is still being mismanaged."
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