Ex-Border Patrol union official in Campo

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SAN DIEGO—A retired president of the National Border Patrol Union who lives in Campo firmly told a federal magistrate Monday he was “not guilty” of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 11 counts of wire fraud.

Terence J. Bonner, 59, was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the very union he worked for 22 years until his retirement in 2010.

SAN DIEGO—A retired president of the National Border Patrol Union who lives in Campo firmly told a federal magistrate Monday he was “not guilty” of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 11 counts of wire fraud.

Terence J. Bonner, 59, was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the very union he worked for 22 years until his retirement in 2010.

After his arraignment in U.S. District Court, Bonner told reporters he was being singled out by the Obama administration for his “outspokenness” and acting as a whistle blower.

“This wasn’t about justice or truth. This was retribution for my outspokenness,” said Bonner. “Today it’s me, tomorrow it could be you.”
“He had quarrels, fights, and disputes with Republican and Democratic administrations, and over those years, he made many enemies,” said his attorney, Eugene Iredale.


When a reporter asked Bonner why would he be singled out now considering he retired two years ago, Bonner said he didn’t know why.
“He never stole a penny,” said Iredale.

The union’s current president, George McCubbin III, told reporters afterwards that Bonner claimed to be working on union matters 365 days a year and was paid for expenses and trips that were not work related.

“We’re pretty damn angry about this,” said McCubbin, who said he used to be friends with Bonner until he learned details of the investigation.
“For years he gave a lot of credibility to our organization. He put us on the map, but unfortunately now he’s put a big black eye on us,” said McCubbin.

According to the indictment, Bonner was paid for “false claims” when he billed the union for “visiting his mistress in Chicago” as well as attending hockey games and other sporting events.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Huie said Bonner falsely claimed he worked on union business every Sunday. He said his trips to Chicago were “falsely certified” on reimbursement forms that it was for union business.

He was also given a clothing allowance if it was purchased in the performance of union duties. He was reimbursed for meals, plane tickets, and books he purchased on occasions he was traveling on union business, such as testifying before Congress.

Border Patrol agents pay $56 per month in dues to fund the union and it represents over 14,000 agents and other personnel.

Iredale told reporters some of the charges may come from “sloppy preparation” of claim forms by Bonner in which he sought reimbursement months later.

U.S. Magistrate Jan Adler set bail at $100,000, a figure that was agreed upon by Iredale and federal prosecutors. After being fingerprinted by federal marshals, Bonner posted $100,000 bond.

Bonner was ordered to next appear in court on Oct. 1 to set a trial date.

No one else in the scheme has been charged, but the indictment refers to “an alleged co-conspirator” who was also a union officer. The reference to the unnamed person suggests they could have been cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s office and may have testified before the grand jury.

Ex-Border Patrol union official in Campo

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