Airman pleads guilty to housing allowance fraud
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Earlier this year, Air Force investigators at Osan Air Base asked their counterparts at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., to check out a San Francisco address.
The agents, members of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 303 at Travis, went to 871 Hampshire St. They were checking whether those living there were related to Senior Airman Cleveland Brailsford, stationed at Osan with the 51st Munitions Squadron.
A man who’d lived there for more than two decades said no Brailsfords ever had lived there, nor had he ever heard of them.
Brailsford pleaded guilty here Friday to cheating the government out of more than $17,000 in housing allowance. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison, reduction to the lowest pay grade and a bad-conduct discharge from the Air Force, officials said.
Brailsford drew the sentence during a special court-martial before Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Dillow, military judge for the Pacific Circuit, based at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
The airman had opted for a trial by judge alone rather than a jury, said Air Force Lt. Col. J. Steven Meador, the staff judge advocate for Osan’s 51st Fighter Wing.
Brailsford pleaded guilty to two counts of falsifying official documents and a single count of larceny, Meador said.
Prosecutors charged that Brailsford lied to OSI investigators at Osan in May when he claimed that a form he’d filed saying his mother-in-law lived at the San Francisco address was true. And in July he signed a document stating falsely that his wife and son lived at that address.
Brailsford’s wife and son actually lived in Sumter, S.C., Meador said. By claiming they lived in San Francisco, he received housing allowance at the San Francisco rate and was paid a total of about $17,000 more than he was entitled to, which led to the larceny charge, Meador said.
That Brailsford talked freely within his unit about his wife and son living in South Carolina later triggered official suspicions about his housing allowance claims, Meador said.
“Eventually, some of the folks within the unit were doing a records review” to ensure that unit records were up-to-date and otherwise accurate, Meador said. “And they kept noticing he had San Francisco listed.”
The unit notified Osan’s OSI Detachment 611 and an investigation ensued.
Brailsford was to be transported Friday to the U.S. military’s lockup at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.