Prosecutor seeks hard labor for two Marines charged with counterfeiting
Stars and Stripes October 1, 2005
NAHA, Okinawa — The Japanese prosecutor of two Marines charged with counterfeiting has asked that each be sentenced to 3½ years in prison at hard labor.
The two have admitted to copying two 5,000-yen notes on a color copier in a barracks dorm and passing them off at a Chatan bar.
It was a “vicious and premeditated” crime that “endangered the stable circulation of Japanese currency,” prosecutor Masahisa Yokota said Thursday in Naha District Court, arguing that a lenient sentence would only encourage others to print phony money on color copiers.
Lance Cpl. Chad J. Adkins, 22, and Lance Cpl. Jesse A. Trammel, 24, both assigned to the 3rd Force Service Support Group motor transportation section on Camp Foster, pleaded guilty to the charges at an earlier hearing.
They confessed to making a 5,000-yen bill (worth about $48) to buy 1,700 yen (about $15) worth of drinks at the Crazy Horse Bar on March 4, then returning four days later to pass off another counterfeit bill.
The bar owner, alerted to the bogus bill, called police when an employee spotted the second yen note on March 8. Police apprehended the two while they still were drinking in the bar, according to evidence presented by the prosecution.
The pair first said they got the bills from an ATM machine. They confessed after an investigation by military and Okinawa police found a computer scanner and copier in Adkins’ room.
Trammel and Adkins have been in Japanese custody at Naha Detention Center since May 31.
“I’m very sorry for what I’ve done,” Trammel said during questioning by the prosecutor.
The Marine, who has spent 120 days in solitary confinement, appeared wan and weary.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and all I can say is I’m very sorry.”
When asked by one of the three judges hearing the case whether he committed the crime because he had money problems, Trammel shook his head.
“I was due to leave the island in two months,” he said. “My four years in the Marine Corps were up. I still can’t tell you why I did it.”
His lawyer asked for a suspended sentence, noting that Trammel has no prior criminal record and apologized for his actions.
At the hearing’s end, Trammel objected to Yokota’s description of the crime as vicious.
“I’m not a vicious criminal,” Trammel said. “This was not a murder, rape, robbery or aggravated assault. I’m not that type of criminal and neither is Chad. To be called vicious is preposterous, it’s unbelievable.”
Adkins also apologized to the court and said he felt bad for all the people he had hurt.
“I hurt a lot of people — my unit, the Marine Corps, the Okinawa people, my family,” he said. “I wish I could go back and change this but I can’t.”
The Marines are to be sentenced Oct. 26.
Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.