Former Department of Defense Employee Arrested and Charged for Allegedly Stealing Financial Assistance Funds Intended for Service Members
WASHINGTON – Tyrone L. Ellis, a former civilian employee of the Department of Defense (DoD), was arrested yesterday and has been charged with conspiracy, conversion and false statements related to his alleged theft of Army Emergency Relief (AER) funds while he was employed at Camp Humphreys in the Republic of Korea, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.
Ellis, 56, of Columbus, Ga., was charged in an indictment returned on Oct. 28, 2010, in the Middle District of Georgia with one count of conspiracy, 10 counts of conversion and one count of making a false statement. He will make his initial appearance at 10:30 a.m. this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles.
The AER is a private, non-profit organization that serves as the emergency financial assistance organization for the U.S. Army. AER’s operations are financed by voluntary contributions from active and retired soldiers during an annual fund campaign, as well as by unsolicited contributions, repayment of outstanding loans and income from reserve funds.
According to the indictment, Ellis worked as an Assistant Army Emergency Relief Officer at Camp Humphreys in 2005 and 2006. During this time, Ellis was tasked with providing AER loans and grants to service members and their families in financial need. The indictment alleges that Ellis approved grants for at least a dozen soldiers in amounts larger than they needed, and that he requested and received thousands of dollars back from the grant recipients, which he converted to his own use. The indictment also alleges that Ellis conspired with another individual to convert AER funds in the same manner. In addition, Ellis is charged with making false statements to investigators when questioned about the allegations. According to the indictment, Ellis resigned his position as an assistant AER officer in August 2006 and left Camp Humphreys.
Ellis faces up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge; 10 years in prison for each felony count of conversion; one year in prison for the misdemeanor charges of conversion; and five years in prison on the charge of making a false statement. He also faces a $250,000 fine for each count of conspiracy, felony conversation and making a false statement. He faces a $100,000 fine on the misdemeanor charges of conversion, as well as terms of supervised release following his prison term on all charged counts.
The allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys John P. Pearson and Richard B. Evans of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and is being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the U.S. Army Audit Agency.