One-year in jail for Osan airman who stole $13,500 in BAH
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — An Air Force staff sergeant with six years of service was sentenced Monday to one year in prison and a bad-conduct discharge after pleading guilty to bilking the Air Force out of thousands of dollars in housing allowances.
Staff Sgt. Lanny Marsh of the 51st Munitions Squadron also was sentenced to reduction to the military’s lowest pay grade, E-1, in a court-martial before Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Dillow.
Dillow sentenced him after Marsh pleaded guilty to stealing $13,500 in basic allowance for housing, or BAH, payments and making a false official statement. The BAH fraud began early last year and continued until almost the end of the year.
The government will “recoup” the money by taking it from Marsh’s pay, Air Force Lt. Col. J. Steven Meador, staff judge advocate for Osan’s 51st Fighter Wing, said in a telephone interview Monday.
Prosecutors said Marsh searched the Internet to scout a location that paid a high BAH, and settled on San Francisco.
He then filled out a BAH application that gave a San Francisco address for his family. But in fact the family lived in New York state, in an area where the monthly housing allowance is well below that for San Francisco.
Marsh came under investigation after the Air Force Audit Agency last year audited housing allowance claims for personnel at Osan and Kunsan air bases, Meador said.
Auditors grew suspicious of Marsh’s claims and alerted Osan-based agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. The agents had their OSI counterparts in the San Francisco area check the address at which Marsh claimed his family was living.
“No one there knew who this Marsh family was,” Meador said.
Marsh was charged in February.
Following sentencing, Marsh was driven to the 8th U.S. Army Confinement Facility at nearby Camp Humphreys.