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Local Airman court-martialed for PCS fraud

Judge Advocate Badge, U.S. Air Force graphic.  Image is 7x6 inches @ 300 ppi.

Judge Advocate Badge, U.S. Air Force graphic. Image is 7x6 inches @ 300 ppi.

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A Vandenberg Airman was convicted of larceny by fraudulent travel voucher in a trial by special court-martial on Feb. 1 here. 

Senior Airman Kristy Barrett was charged with larceny of government property in excess of $500, in violation of Article 121 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Airman Barrett pled guilty and chose to be sentenced by a panel of commissioned officers, forgoing the option to include enlisted members on the panel. Capt. Maria Delimata and Capt. Ryan Haslam, 30th Space Wing Judge Advocate Office, presented the government's case. Capt Robert Stirk, Area Defense Counsel from Edwards AFB, represented the accused. 

When an Airman pleads guilty to a crime, the military judge conducts a special hearing, known as a care inquiry, to ensure that the guilty plea appears to be accurate and it is submitted knowingly and voluntarily. 

This case arose out of Airman Barrett's submission of a supplemental travel voucher in connection with her Permanent Change of Station to Vandenberg. Airman Barrett originally filed the supplemental voucher, claiming that she lost the receipt for $1,000 in airline tickets for her three stepchildren and she was paid an adjusted entitlement in excess of $800 based on that claim. However, investigation revealed, and Airman Barrett subsequently admitted in the care inquiry, that the children did not live with her and had never traveled to Vandenberg in connection with the PCS. At the conclusion of the care inquiry, the military judge accepted the guilty plea and found Airman Barrett guilty as charged. 

Prior to sentencing deliberations, the panel heard testimony from Airman Barrett's commander, an un-sworn oral presentation by Airman Barrett, and oral arguments from Captain Delimata and Captain Stirk. The maximum sentence for the charged crime includes a Dishonorable Discharge, the worst military discharge characterization, and up to 10 years of confinement; however, a special court-martial forum has specific sentencing limitations, including a one-year confinement limit and a punitive-discharge characterization no greater than a Bad Conduct Discharge. Additional sentencing options include, but are not limited to, reduction in rank, pay forfeitures or fines, and hard labor without confinement. The legal office and convening authority consider all the facts and circumstances surrounding a crime before determining the appropriate forum. 

Ultimately, Airman Barrett received a federal conviction, forfeiture of $450 pay per month for 2 months, reduction to the rank of Airman, and a punitive Bad Conduct Discharge.