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WIESBADEN, Germany — A 1st Armored Division soldier was convicted Thursday of larceny and fraud for filing more than a dozen false medical claims worth more than $200,000.

The military jury reached its verdict in Sgt. Seth Y. Adomako-Adjei’s court-martial after more than five hours of deliberation. Adjei was found not guilty on a charge of conspiracy.

Jurors were to sentence Adjei on Thursday night, but results were not available by Stripes’ deadline.

Adjei faces a maximum penalty of 105 years in prison, dishonorable discharge, a fine, reduction to E-1 and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

Adjei’s case was predictably similar to that of Martin K. Hinneluther, with whom he allegedly conspired to defraud Tricare, a Department of Defense organization that provides medical coverage for all U.S. troops. Hinneluther was convicted of conspiracy, fraud and larceny in his December court-martial.

From 2003 to 2005, Tricare’s overseas program received 18 medical claims worth some $238,000 either from or on behalf of Adjei, according to testimony.

Adjei was not reimbursed all that money, but he did receive about $129,000 in payments from Tricare for nine claims, according to the prosecution.

The other nine claims attributed to Adjei went unpaid after a Tricare contractor noticed something suspicious and halted payments.

Defense attorneys accepted that the fraud occurred but argued Adjei was not to blame.

“The issue in this case is not whether fraud occurred, but who did it,” said Capt. Lisa Simon, one of Adjei’s two defense attorneys. The defense pinned the blame on Adjei’s uncle in Ghana.

The uncle, Kwesi Marfo, died in November 2005, Adjei’s mother, Grace Nyarko testified. That’s the same month Tricare became suspicious.

In her closing argument, Capt. Jacqueline Tubbs said Marfo’s death — if indeed he was dead or ever existed — was convenient for the defense. But she dismissed Marfo’s alleged involvement.

Tricare is “a system that the accused knew,” but Marfo didn’t, she said. “The accused exploited that system.”

The defense maintained that Marfo, whom Adjei loved and trusted as if he were his father, at some point turned on the soldier.

Nyarko testified that two of Adjei’s children, who lived with her in Ghana after he moved to the U.S., were often sick, and that she always called Marfo to take the children to the hospital.

It was Marfo, she said, who paid for the children’s health care.

Among the claims for their treatment was a $16,713 bill for treatment of typhoid and malaria.

Justin Adams Kweku Yenli, who worked at one of the clinics cited in the bills, laughed when asked if he’d ever heard of someone paying that much for malaria and typhoid treatment.

He admitted his own mother had recently been treated for both malaria and typhoid. Her treatment cost the equivalent of about $33.

Yenli was shown bills that allegedly came from his clinic, and he identified them as fakes. The letterhead was wrong, the total given in dollars, and the whole thing was typed. They hand write their bills and charge in the local currency, he said.

The defense held that Adjei either believed the claim amounts were real or just didn’t know the claims had been filed.

Tubbs dismissed that idea, noting that on two occasions, Adjei deposited Tricare checks into his bank account. On the same day he withdrew cash, headed to a car dealership and put hefty downpayments on new vehicles — $5,000 one time, and $8,000 the next.


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