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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A U.S. soldier convicted of conspiracy — and who pleaded guilty to unrelated drug charges — will lose his rank and be put on restriction, but he will stay in the Army.

A court-martial jury panel sentenced Spc. Cristobal Paulos, of the 19th Adjutant General Company, to 60 days restriction, 90 days hard labor without confinement, reduction to E-1 and forfeiture of $893 a month for three months.

Prosecutor Capt. Blake Williams said Thursday the sentence will not take effect until it is approved by the convening authority in about two months.

Paulos, formerly a postal worker at the Camp Red Cloud post office, was convicted Wednesday of conspiracy to commit larceny for his part in a plan that included stealing debit cards from the mail, then having co-workers use them to steal more than $1,500 from cash machines around the Seoul area.

He was found not guilty of 15 counts of larceny and two counts of stealing mail. He pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance.

During an unsworn statement Thursday, Paulos apologized for his crimes and asked the panel for leniency.

“I deserve a second chance,” he said.

He said he used marijuana and cocaine because he was depressed about the larceny-related charges he was facing.

“I know that doesn’t justify what I’ve done, but I felt sad,” he said.

Prosecutor Capt. Cesar Casal told the panel during his closing arguments that the sentence should be one that would “scare him straight.”

“Is today the start of a criminal career, or the end of one?” Casal asked the panel. “You and you alone have the ability to put him on the right path and keep him there. Are you going to push him one step forward, or pull him two steps back?”

Defense attorney Capt. Michael Korte suggested that the panel sentence his client to 60 days hard labor, a reduction to E-2 and a fine, saying Paulos was a competent soldier who was eager to learn and work.

Paulos was the third soldier convicted in the debit card thefts.

Pfc. Jerriett Hand was convicted Monday and sentenced to a bad-conduct discharge, five months in prison and demotion to E-1.

Pvt. Adrian Lyles was sentenced in December to reduction to E-1, forfeiture of $867 in pay for four months, restriction for 60 days to his place of duty and hard labor without confinement for 90 days.


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