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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Democratic mayor charged with bribery, theft, fraud and money laundering

The mayor of the border city of Nogales, Ariz., was arrested by F.B.I. agents at City Hall on Tuesday morning and charged with bribery, theft, fraud and money laundering, the authorities said.

Octavio Garcia Von Borstel, 29, a Democrat who has served as mayor since 2008, was led away in handcuffs and accused of soliciting Nogales businesses to hire him as a consultant. One business owner told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that it paid the mayor to obtain city contracts without going through the formal bidding process. The authorities searched his home, produce business and city office.

Also arrested as part of the investigation was the mayor’s father, Octavio Suarez Garcia, 59, an agent for Western Union, who was accused of fraud, theft and money laundering. The father and son were accused of improperly cashing millions of dollars in Western Union money orders and depositing them into a personal account.

“These charges are serious violations of the law,” the state attorney general, Terry Goddard, said in a statement. “Because some charges involve the official actions of an elected official, they violate the public trust. Both the mayor and his father will be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The mayor also faced questions this year on his use of city-issued credit cards. “My office has been very transparent,” he said at the time, denying any wrongdoing. (Source NYT)

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