GI pleads not guilty in scam
November 17, 2007
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — An 8th U.S. Army soldier pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of padding his — and his wife’s — military records with false information to gain undeserved promotions.
During general court-martial proceedings at Yongsan Garrison, Staff Sgt. Andre Gundy was accused of conspiracy to commit larceny, dereliction of duty and 11 counts of making false official statements.
If convicted, he could face up to 60 years in prison.
Prosecutor Capt. Blake Williams told the court’s six-member panel that Gundy added nonexistent awards and fraudulent academic degrees to increase both his and his wife’s chances for promotion from sergeant to staff sergeant.
Williams said that Gundy, whose job usually requires at least 770 promotion points to earn the rank of staff sergeant, would only have had, at most, 700 promotion points without a false academic degree from South Carolina State University.
He also said Gundy was derelict in his duties because he had not sent supporting documents for awards and education from the Electronic Military Personnel Office to his Official Military Personnel File.
He also was accused of altering his and his wife’s scores on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery, a test that determines which job specialties a soldier qualifies for.
Scot Sikes, Gundy’s civilian defense attorney, said his client had been “wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit” and that prosecutors would produce little evidence other than “a morass of paper and a quagmire of uncertainty.”
Sikes painted Gundy as a victim who had been defrauded by an online “diploma mill” posing as a legitimate educational agency.
Gundy’s former company commander, Maj. Robert Hynes, launched a command inquiry in February after an audit of Gundy’s military records indicated the soldier had made changes in the couple’s record books, according to Hynes and another witness.
Williams also showed the panel a slideshow, in which he indicated one of Nekeda Gundy’s Army Commendation medals was dated before she enlisted in the Army, and one of Andre Gundy’s was dated for when he was still in-processing into the Army.
“He must have been one pretty slick in-processor,” Williams said during his closing arguments.
The panel will begin deliberating a verdict Friday.
Nekeda Gundy was convicted of similar charges late last month, and sentenced to a reduction in rank to private first class, or E-3, forfeiture of one month’s pay of $1,152, a fine of $2,500 and 45 days restriction.