Former BCDS CEO sentenced for tax evasion

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times
GALLUP, August 8, 2013

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H ak Ghun, 62, of Durango, Colo., was sentenced Thursday in federal district court in Albuquerque to imprisonment for a term of a year and a day followed by two years of supervised release for his tax evasion conviction.

Ghun also will be required to pay $249,567 in restitution to the IRS.

Ghun was charged in April 2012, in a three-count indictment with evading an aggregate of $367,809 in federal taxes during tax years 2005, 2006 and 2007. At that time, Ghun was the chief executive officer of BCDS Manufacturing, Inc. (BCDS), a manufacturing company located in Shiprock.

In 2003 and 2004, the Navajo Nation invested economic development funds in BCDS and became the majority owner of the company, and in 2006, obtained a $2.2 million loan for the purpose of expanding the BCDS facility in Shiprock,

The indictment alleged that between 2005 and 2007, Ghun used BCDS funds to pay his personal expenses and evaded his personal tax obligations on those funds by concealing his conduct from BCDS's corporate accountant and by filing false corporate tax returns on behalf of BCDS.

On Feb. 21, 2013, Ghun entered a guilty plea to Count 2 of the indictment charging him with evading federal income taxes in 2006. In entering his guilty plea, Ghun admitted that, during 2005, 2006 and 2007, he was the chief operating officer of BCDS, a company that sought military procurement contracts as a source of economic development for the Navajo Nation, and had access to the company's bank accounts.

Ghun admitted withdrawing funds from BCDS's bank accounts and spending a significant portion of the funds for himself. Ghun used the funds to make support payments to his ex-wife and paying for luxury cars, hotels stays and gambling. Ghun acknowledged that the funds he misused were taxable as personal income and that he failed to pay taxes on that income.

Ghun admitted receiving gross income of $207,726 in calendar year 2005 and willfully evading approximately $29,197 in federal income taxes.

He also admitted receiving gross income exceeding $620,361 in calendar year 2006 and willfully evading approximately $145,156 in federal income taxes, and receiving gross income exceeding $251,435 in taxable income in 2007 and evading approximately $65,214 in taxes.


Shiprock man pleads guilty to child sex abuse

Herbert Ben, Sr., 63, who resides in Shiprock, pleaded guilty in federal court in Albuquerque July 31 to sexually abusing a minor under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Ben, co-defendants Rosabelle Ben, 58, and Bruce Hamilton, 77, also from Shiprock, were arrested in May 2012, based on a criminal complaint alleging child sex abuse offenses.

All three subsequently were indicted and charged with sexual abuse of a child between the age of 12 and 16 years, and aiding and abetting the sexual abuse of a child.

Last Wednesday, Ben entered a guilty plea to sexual abuse of a minor and admitted that, on a day between Aug. 2010 and Dec. 2011, he sexually abused the victim at a location within the Navajo Reservation.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Ben will be sentenced to a federal prison term within the range of two to five years followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Ben will be required to register as a sex offender. Ben was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after entering his guilty plea and he will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. Co-defendants Rosabelle Ben and Hamilton have entered not guilty pleas and are pending trial.


Police investigate hit and runs

Navajo and New Mexico state police are investigating a hit and run that took place about 1 a.m. on Aug. 3 near mile marker 10 on U.S. 491.

The victim, Alvin Yazzie, 35, of Tohlakai, N.M., was walking along Highway 491 near his home when he was hit by a motor vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police are now trying to find any witnesses who may have been in the area at the time.

Another possible hit and run occurred on July 27 north of Whippoorwill.

The victim in this case was identified as Kardele Robbins, no age or address was given.

Police said the body was lying on the rod when they arrived.


Beclabito resident gets 30 months for manslaughter

Stanford Benally, 42, who resides in Beclabito, N.M., was sentenced Thursday in federal district court in Albuquerque to 30 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for his involuntary manslaughter conviction.

Benally was arrested on Sept. 11, 2012, on an indictment charging him with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. The second-degree murder charge alleged that, on May 19, 2012, Benally caused the death of a minor female by serving her liquor and failing to provide care and seek medical attention for her in a manner that evinced a callous and wanton disregard for human life.

The involuntary manslaughter charge alleged that Benally caused the death of the victim, who was unconscious and intoxicated, by negligently failing to provide care or to seek medical assistance for the victim.

Benally pleaded guilty on March 22, 2013 to an involuntary manslaughter charge and admitted that on May 19, 2012, he killed his daughter by negligently failing to provide care or seeking medical assistance for her even though he knew she was unconscious and intoxicated.  He further admitted that his criminal act took place on the Navajo Indian Reservation.

As required by the plea agreement, the second-degree murder charge was dismissed after Benally was sentenced.



Man arrested for molesting girl in Wal-Mart

A St. Michaels, Ariz. man has been arrested for molesting a nine-year-old Native girl at Wal-Mart.

Wilbur Willie, 40, has been charged with five counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor. He was being held in the McKinley County Adult Detention Center in lieu of a $10,000 cash only bond.

According to Gallup police, the victim was in the toy section of Wal-Mart with her little brother browsing through the store's toy section when Willie came up to her and touched her inappropriately.

She told police later that she thought it was an accident at first but Willie reportedly began following the two and touching her four more times. After the fifth time, the girl told her brother that it was time to go and she then went to her father and told him what had happened.

The father informed store security, which called police. Store personnel detained Willie until police arrived.

Police said when they got there, the victim was very upset and crying and wasn't able to answer any questions until she was told that Willie was in custody and couldn't hurt her anymore.

After she told her account of what happened, police checked the store's surveillance tapes and saw Willie following the two around and getting up close to the girl. At that point he was placed under arrest.


Police seek help in identifying victim

Gallup city police are trying to identity the victim of a train/pedestrian accident that occurred early Tuesday morning.

Police were called out to the site of the accident in the western portion of Gallup about 5 a.m.

Police said they are still trying to identify the victim, who was described as being possibly a Native American male in his early 30s.

A more complete report is expected to be released on Wednesday.


Shiprock resident to serve 3 years for assault

Tyrell Elliot Frank, 26, who resides in Shiprock, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal assault charge.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Frank will be sentenced to 41 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Frank was arrested in April 2012, based on a criminal complaint charging him with assault. He subsequently was indicted and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

According to court filings, on April 1, 2012, Frank repeatedly struck another Navajo man with a machete. As a result of the assault, the victim suffered severe cuts to his left arm and his back.

During Tuesday's proceedings, Frank pleaded guilty to Count 2 of the indictment, charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

In his plea agreement, Frank admitted that during the early hours of April 1, 2012, people arrived at his residence and approached him. Frank stated that, because he recently had been released from the hospital after having been assaulted, he struck a person he did not know with a machete causing him serious bodily injury.

Frank stated that he later learned that the victim did not intend to harm him.


Del Muerto man faces DUI, assault, reckless driving

A Del Muerto, Ariz. man is facing numerous charges after drunk driving into a tent and crushing a person.

Navajo police received a call about a disturbance about 1:36 a.m. recently at the home of Albert and Rose Lewis in Chinle. When police got to the scene, they found the victim – Rodney Ray Dedman, 18 of Chinle, lying on the ground near a tent with the suspect – Tommy Cly Jr., 32 – being held down by people.

It turned out that Cly had showed up to the house and had been told to leave because he was intoxicated. When he drove away, however, he veered to the right and drove into a tent, crushing one person.

Dedman was transported to the Chinle hospital with minor injuries while Cly was charged with DUI, aggravated assault, unlawful use of a weapon and reckless driving.


Hit and run near Whippoorwill

A hit and run was reported .5 miles north of the Whippoorwill Chapter House on July 27. The first call came in about 2:12 a.m. with the caller saying that there was a man lying in the middle of the road. When police arrived on the scene, medical technicians were covering up the body with a white sheet. The victim was identified as Kardele Robbins, 20, of Whippoorwill.

Police are looking for the person who drove the vehicle that struck him.


Woman's body found near Red Valley

A Mitten Rock, N.M. woman was killed on July 18 on Navajo Route 15 near Red Valley. The victim was identified as Judy Holtsoi, 58. Police said her body was found lying on the shoulder of the road with no pulse. It's unknown at this time how long she had been laying there. The cause of death still has not been determined.


Police investigate beating

Navajo police are investigating the beating of a Prewitt man on July 20. Walter Vandever, 44, was found to have been battered but police had little details of what happened because the victim was reported to be intoxicated and uncooperative. He was transported to the Cibola General Hospital in Grants for extensive injuries to his face.


Tuba City teen stabbed

A Tuba City teenager was stabbed several times on July 19.

The call came in about 12:44 a.m. that someone had been stabbed and police began searching for the victim, finally finding him laying in a pond.

The victim was identified as Adam Tso, 18. Police have released no details of the assault and said they have no suspects at the present time.


Two die in vehicle accidents

A Fruitland woman was killed in a vehicle accident that occurred on July 18 on Navajo Route 36. Police identified the victim as Colette T. Begay, 24. She has been tentatively identified, said police, as the driver of the vehicle. The police report said she was ejected from the vehicle.

Another fatality took place on Aug. 1 on U.S. Highway 163 near Monument Valley. The victim here was identified as Dagmar Reimar, 70, of Germany. He and his friends were part of a tour when he was ran over by a driverless vehicle while they were touring the Mystery Valley area south of Monument Valley as part of the Keyah Hozhoni Tours.

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