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Pacific edition, Thursday, May 31, 2007

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Camp Foster Marine was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to larceny, adultery and other charges Tuesday.

Cpl. Ananda C. Habib, 29, also received a bad-conduct discharge and was reduced in rank to E-1 for charges that included defrauding the government of $41,678 in housing entitlements over a four-year period.

From March 2003 to January 2007, Habib claimed his wife lived in Mount Vernon, N.Y., when she actually lived in North Carolina. New York has a higher basic housing allowance and cost-of-living entitlements than North Carolina.

Habib also pleaded guilty to adultery, unlawful entry and battery involving a Camp Kinser-based female sergeant with whom he had a yearlong relationship. The battery charge stated that he grabbed the woman by the belt during an argument.

“I forcefully grabbed her belt,” Habib told the court. “I grabbed her in a manner that made her react defensive … She socked me in the eye” as a defensive measure, he explained.

Habib was also found guilty of violating a general order regarding fraternization with a junior Marine based at Camp Foster and battery of that Marine.

Prosecutor Capt. Robert Eckert asked for the maximum sentence allowed, telling the court that Habib “broke the basic trust between the Marine Corps and its [noncommissioned officers].”

In the special court-martial, Habib faced a possible maximum sentence of reduction to E-1, forfeiture of two-thirds pay for 12 months, confinement for 12 months and a bad-conduct discharge.

Defense counsel Capt. Joshua Rosen asked the court to consider that Habib accepted responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty and that Habib requested his pretrial agreement include a unique restitution clause.

Rosen also pointed out the government already has recouped $17,000.

After a 30-minute deliberation, military judge Maj. Charles Hale handed down the sentence that also included a fine of $16,500. However, the pre-trial agreement limited the sentence to disapprove fines.

The fine could be reinstated if Habib fails to meet the requirements of his pretrial agreement, which includes repaying $20,000 to the government within 12 months of his release from confinement, Eckert said.

Habib already has served 170 days in confinement, which will be credited toward his 365-day sentence.

This is Habib’s second court-martial. He was on trial in January for a general orders violation and was reduced in rank from sergeant to corporal.

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