SAN DIEGO (CN) – A federal grand jury charged a retired president of the National Border Patrol Union with siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars in union money for personal use.
Terence Bonner, former leader of a union representing 14,000 active and retired Border Patrol agents, used his position to get reimbursed for personal work and travel, including trips to hockey games and to Chicago to visit his mistress, according to the indictment.
Bonner, 59, has been charged with 11 counts of felony wire fraud and one count of felony conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and faces up to 225 years in prison if convicted.
As union president from 1989 to 2011, Bonner implemented union policies that benefited him directly, such as a “clothing allowance” for union officers and up to $800 a year for officers “to purchase one or more gifts and/or meals for their spouse or ‘significant other’ and/or children at any time of their choosing,” according to the indictment.
In 1993 and 2010, he signed “lost wages” policies that compensated union officers for any holiday, weekend or other overtime pay they may have lost due to their union duties, the grand jury claims.
Bonner submitted false claims for “lost wages” for non-union time, including “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 states.
He also sought reimbursement for time spent “at home, downloading, viewing and archiving pornography on hard drives purchased by Bonner at union expense” and for the dozens of hard drives he used to store his pornography collection, according to the indictment.
The indictment lists more than $135,000 in false claims Bonner submitted.
The grand jury claims Bonner had a co-conspirator, identified as the union secretary-treasurer from 1978 to 2011, who helped him hide “the manner in which Bonner was being personally enriched at union expense.”
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.
Bonner is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jan Adler on Aug. 20.