THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — [UPDATE-2: Jan. 27, 2012 -- Bonheyos arraigned in federal district court. See below.] Just two weeks ago a federal judge sentenced John Yeh, the CEO of a video relay company to 9 years in jail and must repay $20 million dollars for defrauding the federal government. Now there’s a report of executives of another company being indicted on similar charges — forcing (or willingly allowing) employees to run up bogus charges in order to defraud the federal government. The indicted executives supposedly appeared in Maryland federal district court Monday Dec. 15, 2011. The report also says the case has since been transferred to New Jersey district court.
UPDATE-1: Dec. 26, 2011. The executives indicted are Bridget Bonheyo and Jerome Bonheyo, owners of Bonheyo & Bonheyo LLC. Case 3:11-cr-00861-JAP. Seven counts each. This information is from a pdf. forwarded to me. A copy of the indictment also appears here: http://fookembug.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/bonheyoindictment.pdf
Somewhat disturbing is that several years ago when the Yeh/Viable case first surfaced, people posted on deaf forums stating other video relay companies were doing the same thing, and the Bonheyos were mentioned by name as an example. This could mean the practice of defrauding the federal government could be as widespread as the rumors then indicated. The Bonheyos apparently closed down their business after John Yeh’s arrest and word is “evidence” was purposely destroyed. Obviously we will be finding more facts about this case as time goes on.
Another disturbing trend is the “excusing” of this by some in the deaf community. Some in the community feel that the money should have gone to deaf people to “support” them anyway, even if it was taken fraudulently! There’s also the whitewashing of the seriousness of the crimes — “good people” do not steal $20 million dollars and get sent up to prison for a decade. The deaf community ought to own up to having thugs in their midst and use this as lesson as a means to set people on the right path.
UPDATE-2: Jan 27, 2012 — Both Bridget and Jerome Bonheyo were arraigned the Trenton, New Jersey federal district court. Both pleaded not guilty. Trial is scheduled for March 2, 2012.
There is not much additional information at this, however, my hunch is that if a plea bargain isn’t reached with the parties shortly, we’ll see a continuance of the trial until some time later this year because we’re looking at only 5 weeks between the arrangement and trial date. I’ll keep you posted.
A video relay provider translates a deaf caller’s signing into voice so that they can communicate with hearing people by phone. The federal government provides a lot of the funding. These companies defraud the government by running up charges for calls never made, or calls to their own employees.
My previous posts on the John Yeh/Viable case: http://lexiecannes.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/transcript-from-deaf-services-viable-ceo-john-yeh-fraud-conviction-sentencing/
A related post on Viable/Bonheyo/VRS fraud issues: http://lexiecannes.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/fraudulent-deaf-video-relay-providers-viable-bonheyo-bonheyo-a-quick-look-back-when-the-story-first-broke/
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