Interior Department Employee Sentenced to Five Years of Probation for Embezzlement 

George Thomas Onwiler, 49, of Hayfork, California, was sentenced on Monday to five years’ probation by United States District Judge Michael Liburdi. On November 7, 2023, Onwiler pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. In addition to his probation term, the Court ordered that Onwiler pay restitution in the amount of $139,168.02.

Beginning in May 2018 and continuing through April 2020, Onwiler embezzled approximately $139,000 from the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), a component of the United States Department of the Interior. Onwiler was employed as an electrician for the BOR, located in Yuma, Arizona. In his employment with the BOR, Onwiler was responsible for purchasing commercial and agricultural grade electrical supplies and materials needed for his government work, and he was issued a BOR credit card to make those purchases.

Onwiler embezzled money from the government by using his government issued credit card to pay fictional electrical company suppliers. Onwiler created fake company names and used PayPal and Block/Square to transfer money to himself. Through 47 unauthorized wire transfers, Onwiler transferred $139,168.02 to his personal bank account. These transactions were fraudulent as he did not purchase electrical supplies for the BOR.

The United States Department of the Interior conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney, Kristen Brook, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution.