Retired Border Union Head Pleads Not Guilty To Money Fraud Charges
The retired president of the National Border Patrol Union pleaded not guilty today to charges that he used the position he held for more than two decades to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars in union funds for personal use.
Terence J. Bonner, 59, was indicted last week on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and forfeiture of ill-gotten gains in connection with the alleged scheme to defraud some 14,000 dues-paying union members.
According to the indictment, Bonner sought and obtained payment for supposedly union-related work and travel that turned out to be personal in nature.
The 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, the indictment alleges.
Bonner said he is innocent of the charges and will be exonerated.
Magistrate Judge Jan Adler today set Bonner's bond at $100,000 and scheduled a motions hearing for Oct. 1.
The indictment alleges that Bonner, a Campo resident, submitted expense vouchers seeking reimbursement for union-related travel expenses such as meals, car rentals, tips, luggage, books and magazines when he was actually traveling for personal reasons, including vacations and other non-union activity.
Bonner and a co-conspirator, identified in the indictment as a union officer, concealed from the union's membership "the manner in which Bonner was being personally enriched at Union expense,'' the indictment alleges.
Bonner headed the National Border Patrol Council for 22 years before leaving last year.