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Marine Major Sentenced for Fraud

August 24, 2002

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SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A Marine Corps major was sentenced to five years in military prison for plotting to use credit cards to steal $400,000 from the government.

Maj. Darryl Phillips was also dismissed from the Corps on Friday and fined $400,000 after being convicted by a military jury a day earlier. For an officer, a dismissal is the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge.

Phillips had faced up to 60 years in prison, and his sentence was less than the 15-year minimum sought by Marine Corps prosecutors. But the 10-member jury of officers at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar effectively stripped Phillips, a former supply officer, of his retirement pay and benefits after a 22-year career.

``Maj. Phillips is very distressed with the dismissal,″ said attorney J. Michael Roake. ``That’s a very big impact.″

Roake had asked the jury to allow Phillips’ retirement benefits to support his wife and two daughters, ages 12 and 7.

Prosecutors said Phillips established five phony companies and arranged for several government credit cards to be charged for supplies without their authorization. The bogus companies reaped the profits and kicked back most of the money to Phillips, prosecutors said.

Authorities learned of the case from a junior Marine and a supply clerk, who was being questioned in another investigation. That clerk has since been convicted of unrelated theft and discharged, prosecutors said.

Two enlisted Marines previously pleaded guilty and testified against Phillips, and another Marine awaits court-martial.

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