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Bond Withheld for Calif. Marine

January 31, 2001

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A Marine Corps lieutenant was accused Wednesday of impersonating another officer to try to steal a $2.7 million payroll delivery.

First Lt. Matthew J. Tenney, 24, was charged with bank fraud but did not enter a plea during his appearance in federal court.

FBI spokesman Jeff Thurman said Tenney faxed letters on Marine Corps stationery to the Brinks Inc. armored car company to request delivery of $2.7 million from the Federal Reserve Bank in Los Angeles to Camp Pendleton, 40 miles north of San Diego.

Large shipments of cash to Marine Corps units leaving for deployment are common.

Tenney also visited a Brinks office in San Diego to work out details of the delivery and wore a Marine Corps uniform with the name tag of the real disbursement officer, Thurman said.

A Brinks employee became suspicious and contacted the real officer, who said he had made no such request. The FBI and military authorities began investigating Jan. 23.

Tenney realized he was under scrutiny and planned to flee the country, Thurman said. Authorities arrested him Tuesday as he drove to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana to catch a flight to Brazil.

Tenney’s court-appointed lawyer, Coleen Cusack, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.

Tenney, from Okaloosa County, Fla., enlisted in the Marines as a college student in 1996 and was commissioned as an officer in 1998. He had been at Camp Pendleton since July 1999 and was in charge of personnel and administrative duties, base spokeswoman Capt. Patricia Restrepo said.

At the time of his arrest, he was within weeks of leaving the military, according to the FBI.

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On the Net:

Marine Corps: http://www.usmc.mil

Brinks: http://www.brinksinc.com

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