SAN DIEGO, Aug. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On August 16, 2012, T.J. Bonner, the former president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego, California. According to the press release and indictment, the charges against Bonner include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and a scheme to defraud the members of the NBPC.
In April 2010, the NBPC executive committee members first learned about an official investigation related to travel vouchers submitted by Bonner. In response, the committee initiated an investigation into the matter. Shortly thereafter, the Committee determined there was sufficient reason to believe Bonner may have acted inappropriately and asked Bonner to step aside while the matter was being investigated by the grand jury. Bonner refused and said the committee did not have the authority to remove him from his elected position.
The NBPC cooperated from the beginning of this investigation and knew it was necessary to take proactive measures to protect NBPC funds, such as: requesting multiple audits of the NBPC financial records; revising internal policies; eliminating questionable sections of the policies (e.g. gifts for spouses and direct-billed credit cards); adding additional layers of review for all expense vouchers; prohibiting a committee member from approving his/her own personal expense voucher; requiring advance approval from the executive committee for travel that was expected to exceed $500.00; and finally, appointing a new Secretary/Treasurer.
The NBPC executive committee also requested the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) to suspend Bonner from his position while the matter was being investigated. Yet, due to the U.S. Attorney's investigation taking an extended period of time, AFGE was hesitant to intervene and remove Bonner from his elected position so close to the end of his term without any charges being filed. During this entire time, Bonner refused to cooperate with the executive committee. He threatened committee members with civil litigation and filed charges with AFGE against the majority of the executive committee, who were ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing after the matter was investigated by AFGE.
In June 2010, a meeting was held with the 16 local presidents and Bonner, and the information that was available to the executive committee at that time was discussed. Unfortunately, any further release of information could have jeopardized the criminal investigation or may have led to further charges against the Council and committee members. Clearly, this is a black eye for the NBPC, and the executive committee apologizes to all of our members for not being able to discuss this matter earlier due to the U.S. Attorney's investigation.
In closing, we are pleased that the legal process is finally moving forward. The NBPC is confident that justice will be served and hopes to recover any funds misappropriated by Bonner. We now must look to the future and tackle important issues facing all of our members. The current executive committee is dedicated to continuing to make our Union one of the strongest in the federal government.
SOURCE National Border Patrol Council