Former Soldier Sentenced in Connection with Theft and Conversion of $289,276 Worth of Government Property
RALEIGH – United States Attorney John Stuart Bruce announced that today in federal court, Kenneth preston blevins, 29, of Lexington, South Carolina, was sentenced to 51 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release for theft and conversion of government property by Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt. BLEVINS was also ordered to pay $289,276 in restitution. BLEVINS previously pled guilty to that charge on May 1, 2017.
According to information in the public record, defendant KENNETH PRESTON BLEVINS was a Specialist (E-4) in the United States Department of the Army assigned to the Forward Support Company of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group. BLEVINS was a cook with a military occupational specialty of “92G,” that is, a food service specialist responsible for the preparation and service of food in field or garrison food service operations. From on or about September 1, 2012 through April 30, 2013, BLEVINS was deployed with his unit to Afghanistan. BLEVINS was assigned to the dining facility at Camp Dyer; the Special Forces camp at Jalalabad Air Base, a United States military base located approximately 80 miles east of Kabul, Afghanistan. At Camp Dyer, BLEVINS was responsible for overall operations of the dining facility. From April 22, 2014 through November 4, 2014, BLEVINS was re-deployed to Camp Dyer. Upon arriving at Camp Dyer in 2012, BLEVINS conspired with another local Afghan to steal and sell U.S. military Class 1 supplies, which include food and beverages such as protein powder and energy drinks, at a local bazaar off base. BLEVINS continued the scheme during his second deployment. To further the success of the scheme, BLEVINS threatened to fire local Afghan nationals if they did not participate in the theft scheme.
It is estimated that BLEVINS and his co-conspirators stole $289,276 worth of government Class 1 supplies. BLEVINS made approximately $50,000 in profits from the theft scheme. He wired $34,500 home via Western Union with the help of a local Afghan. He smuggled the remaining proceeds back to the United States by concealing the money in a TV.
“This prosecution demonstrates the commitment of our office, and the U.S. Department of Justice, to bring to justice those who steal from the American taxpayer and jeopardizes the mission of the brave men and women serving this nation overseas,” commented U.S. Attorney John Stuart Bruce.
John Spoko, Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) stated, "This case is an important reminder that crimes, no matter how big or small, committed by U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan betray the men and women serving honorably beside them."
Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office, commented, "This former U.S. Army Supply Specialist, while overseeing food supplies to our troops deployed to Afghanistan, betrayed his position of trust purely out of greed and for personal profit. This soldier conspired to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsistence items intended for his fellow soldiers serving in a combat environment. Corruption and theft on this large scale undermines the integrity of the Department of Defense, wastes precious American taxpayer dollars, and detracts from the combat readiness and well-being of our Warfighters."
"The United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, along with our investigative partners and the U.S. Attorney's Office, will bring to justice those who attempt to divert funds or property from the U.S. Army and undermine the integrity of the Department of Defense," said Special Agent in Charge James T. Wallis, of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's Southeast Fraud Field Office. "Corruption and theft in the U.S. Army supply lines jeopardizes the safety and readiness of our warfighters."
The case was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigation Service (DCIS), Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan.