OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — An Air Force master sergeant who admitted to bilking the government out of about $33,000 in housing allowances was sentenced here Wednesday to 18 months in prison and a bad-conduct discharge.

Master Sgt. Paul Richardson also was sentenced to reduction to the military’s lowest pay grade, E-1, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances. He had been assigned to the 607th Combat Communications Squadron at Camp Humphreys.

A military jury handed down the sentence Wednesday afternoon in a court-martial that began Tuesday before Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Dillow, military judge for the Pacific Circuit, out of Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Richardson on Tuesday pleaded guilty to charges of larceny and making a false official statement, stemming from what the prosecution said was a housing allowance fraud scheme.

Richardson signed official “basic allowance for quarters” paperwork in early February of 2005, stating falsely that his wife lived in California, the Air Force said.

Based on the housing allowance rates for that residential area, the Air Force paid Richardson about $33,000 more than he was entitled to, leading to the larceny charge. He received the payments between early February and November of 2005, while stationed here, the Air Force said.

Richardson had paid back the stolen funds prior to his court-martial, the Air Force said.

Following sentencing, Richardson was driven to the 8th U.S. Army Confinement Facility at Camp Humphreys.

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