[UPDATE-2] Bridget Bonheyo and husband indicted in another VRS (video relay service for deaf people) federal fraud case

VRS provider CEO Bridget Bonheyo and her husband Jerome Bonheyo both indicted on federal fraud charges.

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/

Source:  MAJOR UPDATE: New VRS fraud case opened! « clercjr.

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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59 replies

  1. What a SHAME !! People think they can get away with anything they knew that are WRONG, They are WRONG as KARMA will getting to them..

  2. This is a very unfortunately situation where one meant to help the deaf community, only to end up thinking about themselves.

  3. Therefore hurting the deaf community as a whole, trust and faith becomes lost and may not do business(es) with the deaf community(ies) again!

  4. This author is disgusting to target deaf people as “the fraudulent” group who excuse themselves because government should pay them anyway. Hey, author, this kind of thing is not limited to deaf people! YOUR people, the hearing people, do that, too! Hearing people defraud U.S. government everyday, ten time more often that deaf people ever do! Do not stereotype or give blanket statements. This was an INDIVIDUAL action. Bridget and Jerome got greedy all by themselves and defrauded the government. The deaf community needn’t be reflected by their actions. I am deaf and know Bridget and I say she has to face the charges because it is illegal and she knew it. She is not stupid. She got greedy and has to pay for it now.

    • What goes on in the hearing world is irrelevant to the discussion. These people are deaf and we’re talking about their impact on the community. So far we’ve the Yeh’s, plus about 6 more from Viable to be sentenced (or already sentenced). Now the Bonheyos. Ask yourself, has the deaf community been enabling them? You betcha — a lot of people wanted to get on board the free money train. Did we do enough to stop this? We have to ask ourselves these questions so that the deaf community can grow from this.

      Thanks for your comments.

  5. very tempting but dumb move on their behalf, even they have intelligent brains thinking that they could get away with it, really shame shame shame

  6. Makes me wonder which is worse:

    Stealing several million dollars from the government

    or

    Bribing the legislators to protect the rich from paying billions of dollars?

    • Legislators taking bribes go to jail if caught as do thugs stealing $29.5 million.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • What is the difference between “sponsorships” and “bribes” among the legislators? If they play word games to avoid the jail, why cant these VRS abusers do the same especially when the FCC didn’t do its work by developing clearer rules on abuses and frauds before these arrests? Its like giving speeding tickets to those who drove 70 mph BEFORE they posted the 50 mph speed limit signs.

      • AL, John Yeh had his day in court to argue the FCC angle. But the court didn’t buy it. Yeh apparently amassed $29.5 million taxpayer dollars personally in a few short years . . . do you really think anyone in his right mind thought the “FCC’s laxness” (your claim, not mine) mean the money was his for the taking? His company Viable took another $20 million and his brother, at least $20 million. The big numbers add up to one thing — greed.

        We can agree to disagree.

        Thanks for your input.

  7. Bonheyo & Bonheyo and Yeh have one thing in common, they know Larry Berke. Larry is an expert hardcore swindler since 1970′s and he knows how to put-ons to make some bucks from it.

    During the 70′s, Larry broke in several emptied houses nearby Gallaudet campus and rented it out (cash only); he used former house owner’s name to apply for fake credit cards and ended up purchasing hundreds of airfare tickets having arrival/departing airport nearby AAAD national basketball tournmments and sold them cheap (cash only) and used the money to scam deaf fans to buy/particpate in basketball (gambling) pools.

    I am glad karma caught up on them.

  8. Lexie, your source came from a website that trolls against Deaf individuals. Thus your comment are irrelevant.

    R-

  9. @Ridor…. as usual your an idiot!…

    You and others NEED to learn to support integrity in the Deaf community!

    Do NOT let” oh they are Deaf, lets look the other way”… Hell NO!

    For your information, Bonheyo is not the end of VRS Fraud, there’s MORE to come…

  10. These are the same very people that worked closely with one of the Convo owner. Back in the old days when Hawk Relay was around, owner and these people worked together before.

    So am wondering who next?

  11. http://clercjr.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/vrs-bonheyo-newinfo3.pdf

    Interesting reading……

    @ Jeff, Your right.. gonna be very nerve wrecking time for Robin Horowitz! It could be the reason why Robin is taking up Body Building as a hobby to be prepared for the worst case scenario

  12. Bonheyo children go to the same school as my granddaughter. I pity them, they will be embarrassed and shame. Did the parents ever think of the situation their children may face if they ever caught? Greedy or thoughtless??? I wonder.

    • While the Bonheyos have yet to be convicted, I’ll say that anyone stealing money are clearly selfish by not thinking of the consequences for their children. Or, they just don’t care.

      Thanks for your comments.

  13. Is it easier and convenient for us to do Deaf bashing? There are many hearing people that got away scamming within VRS business!!! Look at Purple, they got fined $22M instead of indictments??? WTF?!?!?

  14. Is it easier and convenient for us to do Deaf bashing? There are many hearing people that got away scamming within VRS business!!! Look at Purple, they got fined $22M instead of indictments??? WTF?!?!? Sorenson did some dirt too. Layered with law firms [Yes plural firms of lawyers] FCC and FBI were unable to penetrate through… At Viable you will notice there are DEAF interpreters got busted, how come not hearing interpreters???

    Think about it…

    • Inner, please give me some good links to full details of the Purple story. I’ll look into it.

      Also, if what you’re saying is true, let me remind you that John Yeh supposedly had $29.5 million dollars. You’d think he’d too, hire a couple of law firms to protection him . . . what happened?

      • Lexie,

        what happened was Purple had asked for clarification on Conference calls on a certain date, FCC decided 3 years LATER that its not allowed and retroactive it 3 years back.

        FCC forced Purple to pay back for those calls…

      • Calls made by or to employees of VRS providers and their subcontractors are not eligible for compensation from the TRS Fund on a per-minute basis. Instead, costs of
        these calls are compensable as a business expense – and only if the VRS provider can demonstrate that they are legitimate business calls. In the past, some providers sought
        compensation for these costs twice, both at the per-minute rate and as business expenses submitted to the Fund administrator. Today’s ruling emphasizes that these costs are compensable only as business expenses, that the expenses must be justified, and that the costs cannot be recovered twice.

      • http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-296758A1.pdf

        This clearly shows the Purple debt/ Fine was related to that decree on Feb 25, 2010

      • Thanks for the links. I spotted this in the FCC memo:

        “While this agreement addresses Purple’s debt obligation to the government, it does not affect any possible
        government investigations into Purple’s business practices.”

        They may still be investigating them. As for the three year wait — why would anyone be surprised? Its how the federal government works — even Social Security over payments can be collected from years ago.

        I’m sure the Yeh legal team covered every possible angle to defend Viable and the Yehs, but for whatever reason the court felt the Viable situation was different from the Sorenson.

        We need the court transcripts to really know.

        Thanks for your comments.

      • Lexie,

        You said “I’m sure the Yeh legal team covered every possible angle to defend Viable and the Yehs, but for whatever reason the court felt the Viable situation was different from the Sorenson. ”

        the difference is that Viable was a fraud machine, they actually hired people to sit in front of like 2 or 3 VP’s and make calls and not actively participating in the calls, in some cases walk out of the room leavin the VI stranded sitting doing nothing.

        that is an outright black n white fraud right there, this is the reason of different treatment.. while the others were shaded gray area..

      • [deleted due to ad hominem comments]

      • Yeh was nearly broke at the time of arrest…

        I reviewed the 2 FCC links below pertaining Purple – its mostly smokescreen/lip service, none mentioning DataStar, their 3rd party company making fraud calls. Hmmm…

  15. Furthermore… We know Viable got greedy. But if you look closely at the contributions Viable made towards the Deaf community is far greater than big VRS boys. Viable made hundreds of contributions towards the deaf communities, sports, diversity organizations, etc… Despite the small size of Viable as company, Viable donated pretty much about 33% of its profits. I view Viable as “Robin Hood” of the VRS industry! Sorenson controlled 82% of the VRS market and donated less than 5% of their total profits. Tsk Tsk…

    • Oh, you mean stealing from FCC to make donations to the deaf communities so they will look good to their eyes.. Is that justifiable? They (Viable boys) could have shut down our most prized communication accessibility and relay service. Think!

    • Sorenson donated less than 5% of their profits and GAVE over 50% of their profits to their buddies! to make them even richer!

  16. Did John Yeh contribute any of that $29.5 million dollars he stole towards the deaf community?

  17. Viable made more minutes legitimately than illegal, so we have no idea how clean the money were donated back to the community. Only the Yehs and the accountant knows…

  18. Since deaf peole don’t appreciate our government for setting up the FCC funding maybe it s best if they go back to the old way or use SKYPE and let the govt set up vrs co under the Federal government this way their is no abusive practice..

  19. Bridget [deleted]

  20. How come DHIS owners and staff is not in jail? They did all the billing in NJ and Irma was associated with the biling matter. OFC the pussy whup Finkle kiss Irma’s ass in every move she make. I warn them not to swim with the shark and now they are going to pay the consequences. Karma finally bit them on the ass and the staff employees who play stupid because they don’t have the brain to do the right thing.

  21. I know Bridget Bonheyo very well.

    [Ad hominem comments deleted. Please keep the topic on criminal matters. The sexual orientation of convicts or otherwise, is nobody's business. This isn't a personal gossip blog. Thank you.]

  22. When you commit the crime. You should pay the time. Most of the deaf people got off lightly. This have nothing to do with sexual orientation of convicts. This article show how greed ruin people life who were for these thieves. The government need to take action and stop giving them plea bargain. If you steal then you should pay the consequences of the crime.

  23. I am sorry but they need to go after Purple VRS and the other major providers. They did just as much fraud or even more at the time of the FBI investigations. I believe Purple settled with the government telling employees to take huge pay cuts and then turning around and paying the government, in a legal bribe, $20,0000,000, thank you Purple VRS employees!

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Trackbacks

  1. Fraudulent deaf video relay providers Viable, Bonheyo & Bonheyo — a quick look back when the story first broke « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes
  2. Ex-prez of a small college (Gallaudet U. for the deaf) is highest-paid federal retiree! « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes
  3. Deaf video relay (VRS) fraud defendents Jerome & Bridget Bonheyo hire private attorney « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes
  4. VRS fraud felon Jessica Bacallao using her parents’ deafness to escape jail term « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes
  5. Larry Berke, Lisa Goetz and other convicted VRS fraud thugs head to jail or house arrest « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes
  6. Bonheyo federal VRS fraud case: GUILTY! « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes
  7. The Guerrilla Angel Report: 1-year milestone « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes

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