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  1. #11
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Former head of Border Patrol union pleads innocent in fraud case

    By Cynthia Johnston Reuters
    8:39 p.m. CDT, August 20, 2012
    Reuters

    SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - The former head the U.S. Border Patrol agents union pleaded innocent on Monday to siphoning off union and government funds to enrich himself, claiming outside court that the charges were retaliation against him for speaking out against the government.

    Terence "T.J." Bonner, who served for 22 years as president of the National Border Patrol Council, was indicted last week on accusations that he siphoned off hundreds of thousands of dollars in part to maintain a mistress in Chicago and pay for pornography.

    He entered not guilty pleas to 11 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud during a brief hearing in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

    A judge allowed Bonner to remain free on a $100,000 bond after his attorney, Eugene Iredale, told the court Bonner was not a flight risk because he intends to vigorously fight the charges against him.

    The indictment charges Bonner with submitting false claims from the union fund for business travel, overtime and weekend wages, and for reimbursement for credit card and other expenses.

    Some of those reimbursed claims include money for hard drives loaded with pornography purchased with union credit cards and others were for trips to see a mistress in Chicago that were represented as union business, according to the indictment.

    Outside court Bonner said the charges were in reprisal for his vocal criticism of the U.S. Department of Justice.

    "It is retaliation and they are out to discredit me for speaking out in the past and the future," he said. "It is a very strong message to anyone else in the agency who might be thinking about speaking out - character assassination is a pretty effective way of discouraging people."

    Federal prosecutors declined to comment outside court.

    Bonner has blasted the Justice Department over the failed "Fast and Furious" gun-running investigation, an operation intended to track weapons sold in Arizona that were suspected of being transported to Mexican drug cartels.

    Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lost track of many weapons and some were allowed to enter Mexico.

    The operation became public when two guns found at the scene along the Arizona border with Mexico where U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010 were traced back to Fast and Furious.

    Former head of Border Patrol union pleads innocent in fraud case - chicagotribune.com
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  2. #12
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Ex-Border Patrol Union President Indicted for Embezzlement

    Ex-Border Patrol Union President Indicted for Embezzlement

    Submitted by Carl Horowitz on Mon, 09/24/2012 - 14:34


    Terence "T.J." Bonner (see photo) headed a union that guards our borders from illegal entries from Mexico and Canada. Unfortunately, for years he allegedly engaged in illegal entries of his own - in the union's coffers and books.

    On August 16, a San Diego federal grand jury indicted Bonner on 11 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy for his diversion of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) for his own use. Until his retirement last year, Bonner had headed the council for more than two decades. Prosecutors say that he and an unindicted co-conspirator, a union official, defrauded members and concealed the thefts by submitting false financial statements. At his August 20 arraignment, Bonner pleaded not guilty to all counts. A conviction would be a sad career ending for someone truly committed to national security.

    The National Border Patrol Council, an affiliate of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), represents roughly 14,000 dues-paying law enforcement agents and support staff of the U.S. Border Patrol. The Border Patrol is part of Customs and Border Protection, which in turn is a component of the Department of Homeland Security. Many of these employees risk their safety each day to prevent illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and other lawbreakers from crossing our borders.

    T.J. Bonner, now 59, a resident of the San Diego-area border town of Campo, Calif., gave every appearance of being a dedicated public servant. He was an outspoken advocate for Border Patrol agents and their union, raising the level of public awareness of the need for more effective border control. When Agent Brian Terry, part of a four-man Border Patrol Tactical Unit, was murdered by a group of armed Mexican thugs in December 2010 in an unpopulated area in Arizona, Bonner minced no words. "This is an unspeakable tragedy," he said. "The gun battle occurred in an area 15-18 miles within the United States, in one of many areas along the border with Mexico that is out of control." Bonner added that those who claim our Mexican border has become safe "either don't have a good grasp of the situation or are lying deliberately." The U.S. Justice Department this past July indicted five suspects in that case.

    Four of them were at large at the time; Mexican authorities announced on September 8 that they had captured one of those suspects.

    What NBPC rank and file didn't know was that since the early years of his presidency, which began in 1989, their boss, T.J. Bonner, likely had been pilfering funds from the NBPC till. On numerous occasions, Bonner allegedly obtained reimbursements for ostensibly union-related activities that went for personal use. The indictment noted: "These false claims included periods of time when Bonner was actually visiting his mistress in Chicago or family members, as well as trips to attend non-Union activities, such as hockey games and other sporting events." He also received expense voucher reimbursements for vacations, clothing purchases and up to $800 a year to "purchase one or more gifts and/or meals for their spouse or ‘significant other' and/or children at any time of their choosing."

    There was more. Bonner also allegedly benefited illegally from a "lost wages" policy that he initiated requiring the union to pay its officials premium rates for working on Sundays, holidays and night shifts, thus putting these employees on par with Border Patrol agents who work these shifts. Bonner submitted claims for lost wages, said the indictment, "for time frames in which he was not working on union activities but instead at home, downloading, viewing and archiving" what the Justice Department says is "inappropriate" material. He also submitted and obtained reimbursement "for dozens of hard drives used to store" such material "not maintained in furtherance of union activity and whose presence on Border patrol computers would have been specifically prohibited by government policy." Finally, Bonner and an alleged co-conspirator, identified only as a union secretary-treasurer, concealed from union members "the manner in which Bonner was being personally enriched at Union expense."

    Apparently, the fraud added up. The indictment listed $87,863 in false "lost wages" claims during 2007-10 and $48,067 from other false claims during that period. All told, Bonner "obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in union funds to which he was not entitled." The executive board of the National Border Patrol Council first learned about an ongoing federal investigation in April 2010, shortly before Bonner's scheduled mandatory retirement. The union allowed him to serve out his final two-year term until it expired in March 2011. It was the allegedly phony expense reports that triggered an investigation.

    According to Bonner's successor, George McCubbin, Bonner received special treatment from the secretary-treasurer, whom the indictment did not indicate by name. "When we submitted expense vouchers, he never questioned anything for T.J.," said McCubbin. "If we submitted something and forgot a receipt, he'd circle it and send it back to us. He didn't do that with T.J."

    Bonner vehemently denies wrongdoing. And he insists the investigation and resulting indictment are part of a politically-motivated vendetta against him for his frequent criticism of the federal government's record on border security during Republican as well as Democratic administrations. "The federal government will continue lying to the American people about the security of our borders; an honest man's reputation will be destroyed; and millions of tax dollars will be wasted in an ineffectual wild goose chase," he remarked. Bonner also characterized President McCubbin's remarks as "whining," adding, "The union definitely threw me under the wheels of the bus." U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy put it differently: "Siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars from hard-working fellow Border Patrol agents, many of whom put their lives on the line every day to protect this country, is a particularly troubling form of corruption that must be addressed." Once again, truth will out.

    Ex-Border Patrol Union President Indicted for Embezzlement | National Legal and Policy Center
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 09-24-2012 at 04:26 PM.
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  3. #13
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Former head of Border Patrol union charged with wire fraud

    By Marty Graham | Reuters – Fri, Aug 17, 2012

    SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A former head of the U.S. Border Patrol union has been charged with misusing union and government funds to enrich himself, maintain a mistress in Chicago and pay for pornography, a federal indictment said.

    The indictment handed down by a federal grand jury late on Thursday charges Terence "T.J."Bonner, who for 22 years served as head of the National Border Patrol Council, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 11 counts of wire fraud over a period of five years.

    "Siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars from hard-working fellow Border Patrol agents, many of whom put their lives on the line every day to protect this country, is a particularly troubling form of corruption that must be addressed," San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said in a statement.

    Bonner, whose last two-year term as president ended in March 2011, will be arraigned on Monday and has not yet entered a plea. According to court records, he has not yet designated a defense lawyer.

    "I never cheated the government nor the members of the union of a penny during my two decades of service. I consistently spent at least 60 hours a week on union business. At the end of this case, it will be clear that under any fair accounting, I am actually owed well in excess of $100,000 for time spent and expenses incurred," Bonner, 59, said in a statement.

    The union's current president, George McCubbin III, told Reuters that throughout the two-year investigation, Bonner maintained he'd done nothing wrong and that the investigation was merely "a power grab" within the union.

    "When it became obvious what he'd done, we asked him to step aside," McCubbin said. "He took the view he didn't do anything wrong."

    According to the 10-page indictment, Bonner was able to write himself checks from the union fund that were co-signed by the union's treasurer, while he submitted false claims for business travel, overtime and weekend wages, and for reimbursement for credit card and other expenses.

    Some of those reimbursed claims include money for hard drives loaded with pornography purchased with union credit cards, and others were for trips to see his mistress in Chicago that were represented as union business, the indictment alleges.

    "When you fly from San Diego to Washington, D.C., on United Airlines, well, Chicago is a major hub," McCubbin said. "We knew about the mistress but we didn't know he was staying over and spending union money to do that."

    The alleged fraud came to light in December 2009, when Bonner submitted a request for six years' worth of reimbursements to the federal government, McCubbin said, and the union was contacted by federal investigators who had rejected Bonner's travel vouchers.

    "At first, we were shocked and disappointed, but now that we know more, we're angry, the agents we represent are angry, and rightfully so," he said. "We collect their money to fight the good fight in the field and it shouldn't be going for this."
    Former head of Border Patrol union charged with wire fraud - Yahoo! News



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  4. #14
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    EX-BORDER PATROL UNION BOSS FIGHTS FRAUD CHARGES

    By Greg Moran
    12:01 a.m.Jan. 22, 2013
    Updated9:51 p.m.Jan. 21, 2013
    U-T San Diego

    Attorney files slew of motions attacking charges that he defrauded union for years

    SAN DIEGO — In the two decades he led the labor union for the nation’s Border Patrol agents, T.J. Bonner carved a public profile as an aggressive advocate for his members and as a blunt, fearless critic of government policy.

    Now Bonner, a Campo resident who retired from the agency two years ago, is bringing the same no-holds-barred approach to his biggest battle yet — fighting charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego that he defrauded the union out of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.

    Bonner’s lawyer, Eugene Iredale, has filed a slew of pretrial motions, attacking elements of the government’s case and challenging the very basis for the investigation that led to Bonner’s indictment in August.

    Among the targets are the search warrants that federal investigators served on Bonner’s two-story home in March. Bonner is also seeking to have the case dismissed on unusual grounds — that the agents who led the criminal probe did not have the authority under federal law to do so.

    Federal prosecutors have responded that the warrants were valid and the evidence seized from them should be allowed.

    Bonner, 59, has pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud and conspiracy. He was the leader of the National Border Patrol Council from 1989 to 2011.

    The indictment says that during that time, he submitted false claims for reimbursement for wages, travel, meals and tickets to professional sports games. His reimbursement claims would say he had incurred the expenses while working on union business, when the government said he was not, and in many instances was actually visiting a mistress outside of Chicago.

    The government said he defrauded the union out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Bonner has countered by contending the investigation is a retaliation against him by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Border Patrol for his years of work as the union leader and as a persistent thorn in their side.

    In the March search, agents seized what Iredale described as “massive amounts of data” from various computers and computer data storage devices in Bonner’s home. Iredale said in court filings that the seizure went far beyond what was called for in a warrant approved by a federal magistrate judge.

    Investigators, who had been looking into Bonner’s activities since late 2009 or early 2010, sought items such as bank records, financial statements and personal expense records.

    Some 10,000 gigabytes of data — the equivalent of about 5 billion pages of text — were hauled out of the home, Iredale wrote in court papers. Included among those items are notes of “internal strategy discussions” of the labor union, performance appraisals, and emails between Bonner and a law firm that represented him before Iredale took on the case.

    A second motion filed by Iredale challenges the investigation itself. The probe was headed by agents with the internal affairs section of Customs and Border Protection.

    Iredale said federal rules governing criminal investigations only allow internal affairs agents to conduct criminal investigations if the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security first declines to conduct its own investigation and then agrees to oversee the investigation by internal affairs.

    There is nothing to indicate the inspector general ever weighed in on whether it wanted to conduct a criminal probe of Bonner, and therefore the entire case should be dismissed, Iredale said.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Huie declined last week to comment on the allegations. Prosecutors will be filing their replies in a few weeks.

    In an interview, Iredale said the investigation “was completely unjustified” and an attempt to get back at Bonner.

    “T.J. had a habit of speaking his mind, unequivocally,” Iredale said.

    In doing so, he said, Bonner criticized Border Patrol agency chiefs and policies, and “spoke out vigorously” for union members over the years.

    “There is an inference that this is payback and that, for whatever reason, CBP internal affairs was chosen to be the instrument,” Iredale said.

    None of the legal attacks deals with the substantive charges in the case — that Bonner defrauded the union. A hearing on Bonner’s motions is scheduled for March. No trial date has been set.

    EX-BORDER PATROL UNION BOSS FIGHTS FRAUD CHARGES Page 1 of 2 | UTSanDiego.com
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  5. #15
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Case dropped against ex-Border Patrol union boss

    Case dropped against ex-Border Patrol union boss

    Created: 02/11/2014 7:57 PM WNYT.com
    By: ELLIOT SPAGAT


    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors on Tuesday dropped corruption charges against the longtime former head of the union representing Border Patrol agents, 18 months after accusing him of defrauding the organization out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.


    U.S. District Judge William Hayes agreed to the government's request to dismiss nine counts of conspiracy and fraud against Terence J. Bonner one day before a key hearing to determine what evidence would be allowed at trial. The decision followed a series of pretrial setbacks for prosecutors, including a ruling that that they cannot use pornographic images and other evidence seized from computers in Bonner's home.


    Bonner, former president of the National Border Patrol Council, said the prosecution was "pure political retribution" for his outspoken positions against immigration and law enforcement policies.


    "I feel relieved, but at the same time I feel violated, for lack of a better word," he said in an interview. "I've undergone four years of hell, where they've dragged my name through the mud and made baseless allegations against me. ... It was a message they were sending against anyone who speaks out against the policies of the government."


    Prosecutors said the pretrial rulings caused them to seek dismissal of the charges.


    "The grand jury found probable cause that Mr. Bonner had committed the offenses set forth in the indictment," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.

    "From time to time in criminal cases certain evidence is suppressed for legal or technical reasons. We respect the process and the court."


    Bonner, 60, was the union's president from 1989 until he retired in 2011 — a period of major growth in U.S. border enforcement. The indictment says he represented more than 14,000 agents and other employees who paid monthly dues of $56 to the union, which is part of the American Federation of Government Employees and AFL-CIO.


    Bonner, widely known as T.J., was a fixture on cable television and in congressional hearings. News reporters often turned to him for critical commentaries on immigration enforcement policies even after he retired.


    In August 2012, prosecutors accused him of submitting expense vouchers for meals, car rentals, luggage, books and other activities when he was traveling for personal reasons. The indictment said his false claims cover periods when he was visiting a mistress in Chicago, his family, hockey games and other sporting events unrelated to the union.


    Prosecutors refiled charges in September after the judge ruled much of the evidence inadmissible. The judge scheduled an evidentiary hearing only five days before Bonner was to go on trial last week.


    The two-day hearing to further consider what evidence would be allowed was scheduled to begin Wednesday and was to include questioning and cross-examination of witnesses. Bonner's attorney, Eugene Iredale, planned to argue that the case relied on evidence that was obtained outside the scope of a search warrant executed in March 2012 at Bonner's home in Campo, about 60 miles east of San Diego.


    Bonner said the judge's decision to order the hearing was the prosecution's "death knell."


    "This case has consumed my life in all of my waking moments and caused me many sleepless nights," he said. "It has taken an emotional and financial toll on me and pushed me to the edge of bankruptcy. You wonder what it is wrong with our system of justice."


    The National Border Patrol Council's current leadership has distanced itself from Bonner, saying after charges were filed that it adopted tighter internal controls.


    http://wnyt.com/article/stories/S3321537.shtml?cat=300

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  6. #16
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    Former Border Patrol Union Chief Claims Vendetta

    SAN DIEGO February 12, 2014 (AP)
    By ELLIOT SPAGAT Associated Press
    Associated Press

    Terence J. Bonner was a fixture on cable television and at congressional hearings for years, using his position as longtime head of the Border Patrol agents' union to assail government policies. He used the same aggressive style to confront federal charges that he defrauded the union out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Federal prosecutors on Tuesday dropped nine counts of conspiracy and fraud against the 60-year-old former president of the National Border Patrol Council after a series of pretrial setbacks, including a ruling that that they could not use pornographic images and other evidence seized from computers in Bonner's home.

    Bonner, who has vigorously maintained his innocence, was as defiant Tuesday as he was when charges were filed in August 2012. He called the prosecution "pure political retribution" and a vendetta for his outspoken stands against immigration and law enforcement policies.

    "It was a message they were sending against anyone who speaks out against the policies of the government," he said.

    Prosecutors accused him of submitting expense vouchers for meals, car rentals, luggage, books and other activities when he was traveling for personal reasons. The indictment said his false claims cover periods when he was visiting a mistress in Chicago, his family, hockey games and other sporting events unrelated to the union.

    Prosecutors refiled charges in September after U.S. District Judge William Hayes ruled much of the evidence inadmissible, dropping accusations that Bonner claimed to be working on union issues while downloading pornography on his computer. The judge scheduled an evidentiary hearing only five days before Bonner was to go on trial last week.

    The two-day hearing to further consider what evidence would be allowed was scheduled to begin Wednesday and was to include questioning and cross-examination of witnesses. Bonner's attorney, Eugene Iredale, planned to argue that the case rested on evidence that was obtained outside the scope of a search warrant executed in March 2012 at Bonner's home in Campo, about 60 miles east of San Diego.

    Bonner, widely known as T.J., said the judge's decision to order the hearing was the prosecution's "death knell."

    "They were in checkmate," he said. "They never had a case from the very beginning."

    The U.S. attorney's office in San Diego said it disagreed that evidence was obtained improperly but that the pretrial rulings prompted it to ask the judge to dismiss the case.

    "The grand jury found probable cause that Mr. Bonner had committed the offenses set forth in the indictment," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "From time to time in criminal cases certain evidence is suppressed for legal or technical reasons. We respect the process and the court."

    Bonner was the union's president from 1989 until he retired in 2011 — a period of major growth in U.S. border enforcement. The indictment says he represented more than 14,000 agents and other employees who paid monthly dues of $56 to the union, which is part of the American Federation of Government Employees and AFL-CIO.

    "This case has consumed my life in all of my waking moments and caused me many sleepless nights," he said. "It has taken an emotional and financial toll on me and pushed me to the edge of bankruptcy. You wonder what it is wrong with our system of justice."

    The National Border Patrol Council's current leadership has distanced itself from Bonner, saying after charges were filed that it adopted tighter internal controls.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/c...-boss-22471532
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