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Navy Officer Allegedly Stole $2.7 Million To Feed High-Stakes Poker Habit
In order to fund a high-stakes poker habit and buy luxury vehicles and a second home, a naval officer based in Virginia Beach helped swindle the government out of $2.7 million, according to federal prosecutors.
Lt. Randolph Prince, 45, was sentenced this week to more than four years in federal prison.
The prosecution asked for 7½ years, while the defense asked for two.
"It's a shame that he squandered an otherwise outstanding 27-year Naval career," defense attorney Shawn Cline said in an email. "He suffered from a terrible gambling addiction and abused a position of trust to fuel that addiction."
Prince, a member of of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit 2, pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud and making a false statement on his 2014 tax return.
According to court documents, Prince, as a member of his unit's supply staff, steered government contracts to three sham companies that were run by his friends. They were selling the Navy "inert training aids," or fake bombs, that were never shipped but marked as delivered.
Among his co-conspirators were Lt. j.g. Courtney Cloman, a naval flight officer, and Clayton Pressley III, a former sailor. Both have pleaded guilty to participating in the fraud.
Pressley, who netted more than $644,000 from the conspiracy, was sentenced last year to two years in prison. That is on top of four years and two months he received for stealing the identities of his subordinates in an unrelated federal case.
Cloman is set to be sentenced Feb. 7.
Shawn Cline, Prince's attorney, argued Pressley was the scheme's true leader. He said Pressley developed the plan and recruited Prince and others to participate.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Layne acknowledged Pressley — a Bronze Star recipient — helped form one of the firms involved in the scheme and assisted in its operations. But, he said, the scheme involved two other sham companies.
In court documents, Cline asked the court for leniency in light of his client's lengthy military record. Prince enlisted in 1991, at the age of 18, and was commissioned in 2008. He became a lieutenant in 2012.
"When his time in service is remembered, it won't be for the fact that he rose from the lowest enlisted ranks to the grade of Lieutenant, or that he served in a dangerous war zone in direct combat when his nation needed him most. It will be the events of this sentencing hearing that are his legacy," Cline wrote. "Rather than being something with which he can look back on with pride, he will spend the rest of his life hoping that the people with whom he interacts are not aware of the time he spent serving in the Navy."
Layne said Prince still deserved a lengthy sentence. Prince, he noted, controlled the fraud from beginning to end — both steering the fraudulent orders to the sham companies and also telling the Navy the shipments had been delivered when they had not.
"The greed underpinning Prince's activities is shocking, and his actions were impressively calculated," Layne said.
In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar ordered Prince to pay $2,719,907 in restitution.
©2019 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.
Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.
U.S. Special Operations Command may be on the verge of making the dream of flying infantry soldiers a reality, but the French may very well beat them to it.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron shared an unusual video showing a man on a flying platform — widely characterized as a "hoverboard" — maneuvering through the skies above the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris armed with what appears to be a dummy firearm.
The video was accompanied with a simple message of "Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante," which translates to "proud of our army, modern and innovative," suggesting that the French Armed Forces may be eyeing the unusual vehicle for potential military applications.
A lawmaker wants to know if the Pentagon ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with bioweapons
If you've ever wondered if the Pentagon has ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with biological weapons, you're not alone.
Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) authored an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Defense Department Inspector General's Office to find out if the U.S. military experimented with using ticks and other insects as biological weapons between 1950 and 1975.
If such experiments took place, the amendment would require the inspector general's office to tell lawmakers if any of the ticks or other bugs "were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design."
The Taliban drove his family out of Afghanistan when he was a child. Now he wants to go back as a Marine
There's no one path to military service. For some, it's a lifelong goal, for others, it's a choice made in an instant.
For 27-year-old Marine Pvt. Atiqullah Assadi, who graduated from Marine Corps bootcamp on July 12, the decision to enlist was the culmination of a journey that began when he and his family were forced to flee their home in Afghanistan.
The Air Force has administratively separated the Nellis Air Force Base sergeant who was investigated for making racist comments about her subordinates in a video that went viral last year, Task & Purpose has learned.