Former Nogales Mayor Octavio Von Borstel Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges

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.

At least one business admitted to the federal agents that it was paying Garcia Von Borstel to obtain business contracts with the City of Nogales.

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Of the $3.2 million Garcia Von Borstel and his father allegedly stole from Western Union, $565,000 was withdrawn from the bank account for their "personal use."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'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
James King
Contact: James King