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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Former U.S. Army Specialist Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Taking Bribes While Deployed in Afghanistan

A former specialist with the U.S. Army stationed at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Gardez, Afghanistan, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for accepting a $20,000 bribe from a truck driver in exchange for allowing him to take thousands of gallons of fuel from the base.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Brian Stretch of the Northern District of California 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 on June 9, 2015, to bribery of a public official.  In addition to imposing the prison term, U.S. District Judge Beth L. Freeman of the Northern District of California ordered Tran to pay $69,000 in restitution and to forfeit $11,437 as well as a vehicle that he purchased with bribe proceeds.   

In connection with his guilty plea, Tran admitted that, in exchange for approximately $20,000 in cash, he permitted a local Afghan fuel truck driver 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 to the U.S., he used the cash to purchase a 2010 Dodge Challenger.

Tran also admitted to accepting at least $1,000 in cash from another member of his unit, former U.S. Sergeant Seneca Darnell Hampton, 31, of Columbus, Georgia, in exchange for Tran’s agreement not to report Hampton or former U.S. Sergeant First Class James Edward Norris, 33, of Fort Irwin, California, for also taking cash bribes in exchange for fuel.  Both Hampton and Norris previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official and one count of money laundering.  Hampton was sentenced to 24 months in prison, and Norris was sentenced to 51 months in prison.  In addition, both Hampton and Norris were ordered to pay restitution and to forfeit vehicles purchased with bribe proceeds.

The case was 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’s 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 the U.S. Attorney’s Offices of the Northern District of California and Middle District of Georgia. 

Public Corruption
Updated September 22, 2015