Two Camp Foster Marines plead guilty to counterfeiting Japanese currency
NAHA, Okinawa — Two Camp Foster Marines pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of counterfeiting Japanese 5,000-yen bills on a computer printer and passing them off at a local bar.
During a two-hour hearing in Naha District Court, Lance Cpl. Jesse A. Trammel, 24, and Lance Cpl. Chad J. Adkins, 22, admitted they made the bills using a scanner and color printer in their barracks and then used them to buy drinks at the Crazy Horse Bar in Chatan, outside Camp Foster.
The pair admitted that after they used one 5,000-yen bill (about $48) to buy 1,700-yen worth of drinks (about $15) on March 4, they returned to the bar and attempted to pass another 5,000-yen note.
However, an employee of a local convenience store had alerted the bar owner that a 5,000-yen bill the bar owner had used at the store was fake, so the bar owner alerted her employees to be on the lookout for other counterfeit bills.
When Trammel and Adkins passed the second note on March 8, police were alerted and apprehended the two while they were still drinking at the bar, according to evidence presented by the prosecutor during the hearing.
At first they told Okinawan police that they received the money from an automated teller machine on a Marine base, and they were handed over to military authorities.
During the ensuing investigation by Okinawan and military police, however, a computer and scanner were confiscated from the barracks and the pair confessed to the crimes, according to the prosecutor.
Trammel and Adkins have been in Japanese custody since May 31 and are being held in the Naha Detention Center.
Both Marines are assigned to the motor transportation section of the 3rd Force Service Support Group. Master Sgt. Romeo Itchon, their supervisor, said both were good workers who have shown remorse for what they have done. Before they were turned over to Japanese custody, they had been placed on restriction and performed community service, he said.
He also said both Marines faced possible administrative discharges from the Marine Corps.
Attorneys for both Marines said their clients were remorseful and made restitution to the bar owner.
Trammel apologized to the court, the Okinawa community and the Marine Corps for his actions and said he expected to be discharged from the Marines and hoped to “go to work in Iraq as a civilian contractor so I can say I did my part in the war.”
Adkins will take the stand at the next court session, set for Sept. 13.
The maximum sentence for counterfeiting in Japan is life in prison, but Trammel’s attorney, Satoshi Kawamitsu, said he expected the sentences in the two cases to be “minimal, because the amount involved is so small.”
Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.