Scam nets Osan staff sergeant jail time, discharge
September 15, 2003
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — An Air Force staff sergeant faces 11 months in prison and ouster from the service after pleading guilty to lying about her marital status so she could draw undeserved money payments, according to the Air Force.
Staff Sgt. Sasanna Galitzen, a finance technician assigned to Osan’s 51st Comptroller Squadron, was sentenced Tuesday to 11 months confinement, a bad-conduct discharge, reduction to E-1, and total forfeiture of pay and allowances following a court-martial at the base, the Air Force said. She had been enlisted since December 1996.
The judge, Lt. Col. Dawn R. Eflein, of Yokota Air Base, Japan, handed down the sentence after Galitzen pleaded guilty to signing a false official document, larceny and altering a public document, said Capt. Brandon Jones, the case’s prosecutor, who works for the 51st Fighter Wing Judge Advocate.
The scam netted the sergeant $13,239 in various allowances, all of which she repaid before her court-martial, the Air Force said.
Galitzen had chosen to be tried solely by a judge, not a jury.
While on temporary duty at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., on Jan. 28, Jones said, she went to the base finance office and turned in documents indicating she had recently married and that her husband was living in California. In fact, she was divorced and single.
The documents included a form applying for payment of housing allowances for her husband and a certificate from her previous marriage.
She changed the date on the certificate to indicate she’d married just days before, on Jan. 22, Jones said. About a month later, back on regular duty at Osan, Galitzen turned in a form requesting family-separation allowances — payments made to servicemembers as compensation for being separated from their families for duty reasons.
Also at Osan, she asked a lower-ranking airman to enter the false information about her marital status into a finance computer system. The airman did, not knowing the information was false, Jones said.
“He didn’t do anything wrong,” Jones said of the airman. “She just used him.”
Then, Jones said, sometime in March, Galitzen filed a form seeking a higher cost-of-living allowance based on her bogus marital status.
“So essentially, on three separate occasions, she fraudulently submitted three documents to start three separate allowances,” Jones said.
Finally, Jones said, in April, Galitzen discovered that her name was listed in a standard Air Force “discrepancy report,” which lists servicemembers whose personnel and finance records have items that don’t match up. The report’s finance portion listed her as having a dependent, but the personnel part indicated she was single.
She had access to the report because it was one of her regular duties to print it out every quarter, Jones said. Galitzen removed the page with her name and turned in the report.
“So she printed up this report and saw her name was on it,” said Jones. “She removed the page that had her name on it to cover up her crimes.”
Her actions came to light after someone in the finance office grew suspicious, checked records, determined Galitzen was still single and reported it to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which later questioned her.
Galitzen is currently jailed at the confinement facility on Camp Humphreys in Pyongtaek, pending transfer to the Miramar Confinement Facility in San Diego, said Capt. Jin-hwa Frazier, chief of military justice for the 51st Fighter Wing.