Estate to repay in World Plus investment scam

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The estate of RaeJean Bonham's deceased brother will have to repay more than $500,000 collected through Bonham's World Plus investment scam, according to an order from a federal jury.

Bonham, a former Fairbanks resident, bilked tens of millions of dollars from investors in the mid-1990s in Alaska's biggest Ponzi scheme. Bonham claimed to buy bulk frequent-flier mileage that she repackaged as discount airline tickets for a large profit, but actually took money from newer investors to pay off earlier ones.

In October 1997, a federal grand jury returned a 79-count felony indictment against Bonham for mail fraud and money laundering. Bonham, who pleaded guilty to two counts, is serving a five-year prison sentence in Spokane, Wash.

Last week, the federal jury took action in a civil case brought by bankruptcy trustee Larry Compton. The jury found that Bonham's brother, Terry Franklin, should repay roughly a half million dollars that he unlawfully collected through the Ponzi scheme, Compton told the Anchorage Daily News.

Franklin, a Fairbanks bar owner, pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 1999 in connection with World Plus. He agreed to pay back taxes and penalties.

Franklin also was ordered to spend six months in a halfway house and died four days before finishing his sentence. The jury found that Franklin's widow, Lynn, will have to repay the money, Compton said.



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