• February 20, 2017

Man accused in Killeen scam jailed in Travis County

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2011 12:00 pm

By Philip Jankowski

Killeen Daily Herald

A man suspected of defrauding Killeen well-wishers of thousands of dollars by pretending to have terminal cancer is in Travis County Jail after pleading guilty to a charge of fabricating evidence.

State District Judge Cliff Brown sentenced Brian Jeffrey Bonniwell, 32, to five years in prison in a plea agreement reached with the Travis County District Attorney's Office, according to a spokeswoman from the office.

Bonniwell, known in Killeen as Brian Fisher, pleaded guilty Nov. 21 to fabricating physical evidence as well as to two counts of criminal non-support.

A grand jury in Bell County indicted Bonniwell in August on a charge of theft over $1,500 in connection with an alleged scam in which he accepted car parts and cash donations at an event dubbed "Battle for Brian" at a local auto dealership. If convicted in that case, Bonniwell could face up to two years in prison.

The Travis County charge shows that Bonniwell began faking a cancer diagnosis long before he befriended auto enthusiasts in Killeen, who helped pay for after-market parts for his truck and organized a fundraiser on his behalf.

Court documents show that as far back as July 2010 - eight months before the fundraiser - Bonniwell began telling his probation officer that he had stage-3 invasive ductal carcinoma, a form of breast cancer found in men. Bonniwell used the cancer diagnosis as an excuse for missing several court-ordered appointments at a probation office in Austin, according to court documents.

Bonniwell was on probation from a 2005 conviction of burglary of a habitation. He provided his probation officer with a letter from Texas Oncology-South Austin stating he had been diagnosed with cancer and had "crossed over into terminal status," an arrest affidavit states. That letter turned out to be a fabrication.

After Austin police became aware of Bonniwell's alleged scam in Killeen, they subpoenaed records from Texas Oncology-South Austin. An employee of the cancer treatment center told police he could not find any record of Bonniwell ever being a patient there or at any Texas Oncology facility.

Contact Philip Jankowski at philipj@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7553.

More about

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.