- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - Federal agents are taking over the investigation into a missing Butte man suspected of embezzling $175,000 from a union.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton told The Montana Standard (https://bit.ly/1rrhEYm ) in a report published Thursday that the case of Jim Ryan will be turned over to the FBI.

Ryan, 54, was the business manager for the Sheet Metal Workers International Association of Helena. He was to meet with union officials about money missing from its general fund on the day he disappeared.

Ryan’s wife reported him missing late on Feb. 19 when he failed to return home from work. His car was found in the Delmoe Lake area near Homestake Pass in Jefferson County. Officials initially said they believed he stopped to go on a run on his way to work.

Earlier this month, Dutton confirmed the embezzlement investigation.

Union trustee John P. Christiansen told union members in late March that it was believed Ryan was taking cash advances without explanation, selling union cars without depositing the money into the proper accounts, writing checks to himself and making questionable credit card transactions.

No signs of Ryan have been found.

Searchers will again look in the area where Ryan’s car was found later this spring, Jefferson County Sheriff Craig Doolittle said.

“He’s still a missing person,” Doolittle said. “The only lead we have at the moment is Homestake.”

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Information from: The Montana Standard, https://www.mtstandard.com

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