Former U.S. Army Specialist Pleads Guilty to Taking a Bribe While Deployed in Afghanistan
A former specialist with the U.S. Army pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe from an Afghan truck driver at Forward Operating Base Gardez, Afghanistan (FOB Gardez), in exchange for allowing the driver to take thousands of gallons of fuel from the base for resale on the black market. Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore of the Middle District of Georgia made the announcement.
Anthony Don Tran, 28, of Stockton, California, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Beth L. Freeman of the Northern District of California to one count of bribery of a public official.
According to admissions made in conjunction with his guilty plea, in exchange for $20,000 in cash, Tran permitted a local Afghan fuel truck to depart FOB Gardez without downloading roughly 12,000 gallons of fuel purchased by the U.S. government and designated for the base. Tran admitted that, on May 21, 2013, after returning from deployment, he purchased a 2010 Dodge Challenger with the cash derived from the bribe.
In addition, Tran admitted to accepting at least $1,000 in cash from two other members of his unit, U.S. Army sergeants James Edward Norris and Seneca Hampton, in exchange for Tran agreeing not to report them for also taking bribes for fuel. Both Norris and Hampton previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme. On May 21, 2015, Norris was sentenced to serve 51 months in prison. Hampton is scheduled to be sentenced on July 28, 2015.
Pursuant to his plea agreement, Tran agreed to forfeit the proceeds he received from the bribery scheme as well as to pay full restitution. Sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 22, 2015.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Contract Audit Agency, Investigative Support Division. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys John Keller and Sean Mulryne of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Solis and Danial Bennett of the Middle District of Georgia.