Federal prosecutors in San Diego drop fraud charges against former Border Patrol

Federal prosecutors in San Diego drop fraud charges against former Border Patrol union boss SAN DIEGO – 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 offences 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 travelling 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. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press Posted Feb 11, 2014 4:27 pm MDT read more

Whole Foods Market CEOs admit to pricing problems at stores will train

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Whole Foods Market is apologizing to its shoppers for incorrect pricing, a week after a New York investigation found that the natural food grocer routinely overcharged for prepackaged fruits, vegetables and deli meats.“Straight up, we made some mistakes,” said co-CEO Walter Robb, as he stood beside co-CEO John Mackey in a YouTube video posted Wednesday. “We want to own that.”Robb and Mackey said that the pricing mistakes were unintentional and that the company will increase its training at stores around the county. Going forward, Whole Foods will give items away for free if customers discover they were overcharged. “We apologize to our customers for any discrepancies that may have occurred,” the company said in blog post.Last week, New York’s Department of Consumer Affairs said it was expanding its investigation after finding that Whole Foods stores in the city regularly ripped customers off, including overcharging $14.84 for a package of coconut shrimp and $4.85 for eight chicken tenders. The department tested 80 types of prepackaged items and found all of them had mislabeled weights. The investigation focused on eight stores in the city.In a statement, Commissioner Julie Menin said that the Department of Consumer Affairs was “gratified” that Whole Foods admitted to issues with its prepackaged food labels.In the YouTube video, Mackey said there was a “very small percentage” of weighing errors with items made in stores, including sandwiches, fresh juices and cut fruits.“We know they are unintentional because the mistakes are both in the customer’s favour and sometimes not in the customer’s favour,” Robb said.Based in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market Inc. operates 422 stores around the world. by The Associated Press Posted Jul 2, 2015 2:36 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 2, 2015 at 3:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Whole Foods Market CEOs admit to pricing problems at stores; will train staff nationwide read more