Juan Rios is a lucky man, all things considered. Rios, formerly secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Musicians Local 23, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on October 27 to embezzling funds from the San Antonio union, which represents more than 200 employees who work in various South Texas music organizations, including the Symphony Society of San Antonio and the San Antonio Pocket Opera. He had been indicted in August for two counts of embezzlement in the amount of $15,407 and one count of possession of forged securities. He faces up to five years in prison at sentencing in March.
Prosecutors had alleged that Rios, 25, embezzled about $30,000 from the local, or about double the amount for which he had been indicted. He wrote himself several forged checks and deleted the transactions from union records. The plea agreement, however, stated he would owe only $1,852 because the insurance company has reimbursed the union for most of its loss. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.