Disgraced former Nogales Mayor Octavio Garcia Von Borstel, and his father, were in Pima County Superior Court yesterday where they pleaded guilty to corruption charges stemming from a scam targeting Nogales businesses.
Initially facing multiple charges of bribery, theft, fraud, and money laundering, Von Borstel pleaded guilty to one count of fraud, and no contest to illegally conducting an enterprise.
Of the 13 charges with which he was initially charged, 11 were dropped as a condition of the plea agreement.
Von Borstel's father, Octavio Garcia Suarez, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud for his role in the scam.
According to the Attorney General's Office, the agency that handled the case, the FBI began investigating Garcia Von Borstel over a year ago and found he'd been soliciting businesses in Nogales to hire him as a business consultant while acting an elected official with influence over city contracts.
In other words, Garcia Von Borstel was having businesses pay him as a "business consultant" in exchange for him using his position as mayor to grant them government contracts.
As for Garcia Suarez, he was an agent for Western Union and was authorized to sell Western Union money orders.
Garcia Suarez was basically just printing out money orders -- $3.2 million worth -- with no cash to back them up.
The money orders were cashed by Garcia Von Borstel and deposited into a bank account he controlled.
Of the $3.2 million Garcia Von Borstel and his father allegedly stole from Western Union, $565,000 was withdrawn from the bank account for their "personal use."
Both men will be sentenced in August.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.