by Jason Hopkins
The El Paso Border Patrol union is reportedly investigating the disappearance of roughly $500,000 from its coffers, with the U.S. Border Patrol union president telling local agents that the money was stolen.
National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told agents in November 2019 that the there is open investigation into the disappearance of about $500,000 from the El Paso local’s coffers, according to an audio recording of the meeting released by ProPublica. Judd’s comments, which were given to Border Patrol members of the El Paso sector, confirmed long-running rumors that the money was missing.
The union’s national president reportedly revealed that auditors discovered a total of “$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 added that the forensic auditors were hired to review the financial records of the local union’s financial records spanning back nearly 10 years, and that they uncovered “many, many discrepancies.”
The FBI, according to ProPublica, is investigating who exactly is responsible for siphoning off the enormous amount of money. The U.S. Department of Labor, which has the authority to investigate such matters in conjunction with the FBI, is also aware of the apparent embezzlement scheme.
“We expect there will be indictments,” Judd told the Border Patrol agents.
The National Border Patrol Council, first established in the 1960s and an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, represents the interests of roughly 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents. The El Paso local, staffed mostly by active-duty agents, represents more than 1,400 Border Patrol employees deployed in the El Paso sector, which stretches from west Texas to New Mexico.
Rumors of a large-scale embezzlement scheme have been circulating among staff since at least 2018, according to the ProPublica report. While no one has been charged, the report devoted much attention to Robert Russell — the former leader of the El Paso union, and his sister, Dawn Munoz.
Despite not being a Certified Public Account and having a lengthy criminal record for financial crimes, Munoz was hired on the local union’s accountant. Russel served as the El Paso union president from 2014 to 2017, being one of the few people with access to the union’s funds. The union fired Munoz in 2018 after Russell stepped down from his position.
It wasn’t until Munoz’s firing that members discovered glaring discrepancies in their finances.
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Jason Hopkins is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.