FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1997

CRM (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

OWNER OF DISCOUNT AIRLINE TICKET BUSINESS INDICTED ANCHORAGE, ALASKA -- A Fairbanks, Alaska woman, who owned a discount airline ticket business, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Alaska on charges of maintaining an illegal Ponzi or pyramid scheme, the Department to Justice announced today. The indictment, unsealed last night, charges Raejean S. Bonham, 47, with 53 counts of mail fraud, eight counts of money laundering, and 18 counts of engaging in monetary transactions. Bonham was taken into custody in Fairbanks and will be transported to Anchorage for an initial appearance in U.S. District Court. Bonham owned and operated Atlantic Pacific Funding Corporation and World Plus, Inc., businesses located in Fairbanks, Alaska, that sold to the public discounted airline tickets obtained from ticket brokers. Bonham and her businesses were forced into bankruptcy in December 1995. The indictment alleges that from about 1989 through 1995, Bonham, as part of a Ponzi or pyramid scheme, and based on false and fraudulent representations, offered and sold to individual investors interest-bearing contracts. The indictment alleges Bonham falsely represented that banks would not lend money to the company because World Plus was in the frequent flyer ticket business, creating the need to raise money from individual investors. According to the indictment, Bonham claims that the money invested would be used to purchase large blocks of frequent flyer miles from multi-national corporations, the investments were "guaranteed", "bonded" and/or "insured", and there were only a limited number of investors. The indictment also alleges that Bonham failed to advise and concealed from investors that Delta Airlines had obtained court orders restraining her and World Plus from dealing in Delta tickets; that the State of Alaska regulated the "contracts" she was selling; that a portion of the investment would be used for personal expenses and purchases; and that a significant portion of the individual's investment would be used to repay other investors, thereby maintaining the Ponzi or pyramid scheme. The indictment further alleges that Bonham filed false and fraudulent exemption requests with the State of Alaska to avoid registration and regulation of the investor contracts and concealed the nature and extent of her investment solicitations. Each count of mail fraud has a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. Each count of engaging in monetary transactions has a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. Each count of money laundering has a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $500,000. If convicted Bonham will be sentenced according to the federal sentencing guidelines. This case is being handled by Joseph A. Beck, an attorney from the Criminal Division, Fraud Section, in Washington, D.C.,

assisted by Cindy Cooper of the Alaska Attorney General's Office and Retta Rae Randall of the U.S. Attorney's office in Anchorage. Cooper and Randall have been appointed Special Attorneys for the Department of Justice. The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI. ### 97-443