SAN DIEGO – A former Department of Homeland Security officer and president of a local labor union for government employees has been indicted on federal charges, the United States Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Felix Luciano, 60, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for wire fraud and making false statements for allegedly embezzling tens of thousands of dollars of union funds between December 2013 and January 2019, from Local 2805, the union he headed.

Luciano is accused of using union dues to pay for personal expenses such as luxury travel, a custom gun safe, retail purchases, dining, groceries, and payments to his personal credit card. He also supported his wife’s business by paying for expenses such as website design. Luciano is also accused of paying for the expenses using the union’s debit and credit cards and writing checks to himself from its checking account with false descriptions in the memo line.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Luciano hid his embezzlement by reporting false information on the union’s annual financial reports. He prepared, signed on behalf of Local 2805 – 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. One example is the 2017 financial report, where Luciano falsely reported the union disbursed just over $3,000 to him, when the actual figure was over $20,000. Labor organizations are required to file financial reports with the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) annually.

“When employees pay their hard-earned money into labor unions, they reasonably expect the officers of those organizations to be honest stewards of their dues,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Our office will work diligently to pursue justice against offenders who have allegedly stolen from their own unions at the expense of members.”

Luciano served as president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2805 from 2001 to December 2018. He retired while the union was being audited by the OLMS, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Local 2805 represents DHS-ICE employees in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Luciano pleaded not guilty and is expected to be back in federal court on October 3 for a motion hearing.