1st ID GI gets jail time for stealing nearly $68,000 from Iraqi bank
July 14, 2004
A 1st Infantry Division soldier will spend the next two years in jail after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $68,000 from an Iraqi bank he was guarding.
At his court-martial Monday in Würzburg, Germany, Spc. Donald E. Gentry Jr. was convicted of larceny, knowingly concealing property, conspiracy and making false statements.
Gentry, of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, also was reduced to E-1, ordered to forfeit all pay and allowances, and given a bad-conduct discharge.
According to court documents provided by the 1st ID, Gentry stole $67,729 from the Rasheed Bank while on guard duty during deployment to Kirkuk, Iraq, on Aug. 18, 2003.
After taking the money, he divided it up and conspired to hide it with three other soldiers. He also mailed some back to the States and to Germany. He said he also burned some of it to keep from getting caught.
Part of the duties of the infantry troops was to guard the U.S. currency at the Iraqi bank in Kirkuk.
One day, one of the bank tellers forgot to secure her money box after leaving work, according to court documents.
Another soldier, Spc. Fabian Zamora, first noticed the money was left unsecured and jumped over the teller’s booth to take it and and show it to Gentry, as well as two other troops, Spc. James Caldwell and Spc. Christopher Knight, according to the documents.
All four soldiers talked about how the money would make their lives better, but they agreed that keeping the money was not worth the risk, so Zamora put it back, according to the court documents.
Later that night, however, Gentry went back to see if the box was still there. Each of the other soldiers took about $300, and Gentry kept the remaining $66,829 for himself, the documents stated.
After taking the cash, Gentry and Caldwell tried to conceal the crime by breaking a wooden box that held the money and tossing the box into a junkyard behind the bank.
An Iraqi boy later brought pieces of the broken box back to the bank. The box was tested by the Criminal Investigation Command, and Gentry’s fingerprint was found on it, the court documents stated.
Gentry, despite knowing he took the money, still thoroughly searched local Iraqi homes along with other troops to help locate the missing money before CID found his fingerprint on the money box.
Caldwell, Knight and Zamora are pending courts-martial, according to the legal office, but no details have been released on their cases.