- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - A 54-year-old Butte man who was reported missing in February is under investigation after more than $175,000 went missing from the Sheet Metal Workers International Association in Helena, where he was the business manager.

Jim Ryan was to meet with union officials Feb. 19 about losses from the general fund, the day he went missing, according to documents obtained by The Montana Standard (https://bit.ly/1k4QsR4 ).

Ryan’s car was found at a Homestake Pass trailhead, where officials believe he went for a run. Searchers have turned up no sign of Ryan.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton confirmed the embezzlement investigation Thursday, but declined to release any further information.

A letter sent to union members on March 27 alleges Ryan was responsible for “significant financial losses” over the past few years.

Union trustee John P. Christiansen told union members 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.

Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester says the embezzlement investigation “is another element we need to consider,” but does not give his office any more of an idea of where Ryan is.

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

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