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Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by gnarly_carl, Sep 2, 2005.
Check this out. http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/m...ld/12522366.htm
The link didn't take me anywhere.
Did you mean to post a link to this story about the BLM chief embezzling $18,000?
Or perhaps this story about $4 million of pot that was found being grown on BLM land? :stoned
Here it is
Losses add up to nearly $18,000
[size=-1]By VIRGINIA HENNESSEY[/size]
[size=-1]Herald Staff Writer[/size]
Robert Beehler, longtime head of the Bureau of Land Management office overseeing 315,000 acres of federal lands from Monterey County to Alameda County, has admitted to embezzling close to $18,000.
Beehler, a 28-year veteran of the bureau, quietly pleaded guilty Aug. 22 in U.S. District Court. In a plea agreement, he admitted using his government credit card for personal expenses over a three-year period and doctoring invoices to obtain $4,200 in cash. The total loss in federal funds was at least $17,939.
According to court records, the case dates to Oct. 16, 2003, when Beehler was confronted and "admitted stealing U.S. government money but failed to disclose the extent of his theft."
Jan Bedrosian, deputy state director for external affairs for the Bureau of Land Management, said Beehler had been the subject of a two-year investigation by the Interior Department's Office of the Inspector General. He remained on the job until a few weeks ago when his plea negotiations with the U.S. Attorney's Office began, at which time he was placed on administrative leave, she said.
Bedrosian said Beehler, 57, announced he will retire from his job on Saturday and will be allowed to collect his pension.
"He pled guilty to a felony," she said, "but it does not negate his 28 years of service."
Beehler's territory included large sections of Big Sur forest and chunks of Fort Ord.
Beehler could not be reached for comment Tuesday. His attorney, former federal prosecutor Patrick Hanly of the prestigious Nossaman law firm in Sacramento, did not respond to inquiries.
Bedrosian said she did not know what initiated the investigation into Beehler's activities or how Beehler spent the money. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Rodriguez did not return telephone calls Tuesday.
Case handled differently|
It was unclear why Beehler's case was handled differently from what is typical for federal prosecutors. The case was prosecuted in the Eastern District of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento, rather than by the Northern District offices in San Francisco or San Jose, which normally handle cases for Monterey and Hollister, where Beehler's office is located.
Additionally, Beehler was not indicted by a grand jury, as is typical for federal prosecutions. Instead, prosecutors filed a criminal complaint the day Beehler entered his guilty plea.
Bedrosian said she received a press statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office, which trumpeted the "Department of the Interior's commitment to ensuring that the taxpayers' resources are vigorously protected and that Department employees are held to the highest standards of integrity." But the news release was not placed on the federal prosecutor's Web site, as is customary.
According to the plea agreement and the press release forwarded by Bedrosian, Beehler began misappropriating money in 2000, using his government-issued credit card "for personal expenditures and non-governmental expenses."
Beehler admitted issuing "convenience checks" from the credit account in the name of family members, then forging the endorsement of the checks.
He later created and submitted fraudulent vouchers, claiming the checks were for legitimate bureau expenditures.
No charges against wife|
As part of the plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney's Office agreed not to charge Beehler's wife, Donna Beehler, with conspiracy and aiding and abetting, and to file no further charges against Beehler as long as he meets the terms of the agreement.
Beehler will be sentenced Nov. 1. While his sentence is up to the discretion of U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton, his plea agreement calls for Beehler to pay restitution of $17,939 and face a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Rodriguez, however, agreed to recommend a lesser sentence, possibly including home detention or probation.
Bedrosian said a national search would be conducted for Beehler's replacement. In the meantime, Beehler's deputy, George Hill, is acting field manager for the bureau's Hollister office, which oversees public lands in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties, as well as parts of Fresno, Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. In Monterey County, the bureau owns 30,000 acres at Fort Ord, above the Salinas and Carmel valleys, and near Fort Hunter Liggett and the Ventana Wilderness.