Former Department of Defense Employee Sentenced to Prison for Stealing Financial Assistance Funds Intended for Service Members

WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)—August 25, 2011.  A former civilian employee of the Department of Defense was sentenced today to nine months in prison for conversion of Army Emergency Relief (AER) funds while he was employed at Camp Humphreys in the Republic of Korea, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  

Tyrone L. Ellis, 56, of Columbus, Ga., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land of the Middle District of Georgia.   In addition to his prison term, Ellis was sentenced to two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $9,250 in restitution.

Ellis pleaded guilty in May 2011 to one count of conversion.   Ellis was indicted on Oct. 27, 2010, for this criminal conduct.   As part of his guilty plea, Ellis admitted that, as an assistant AER officer at Camp Humphreys in 2005 and 2006, he approved grants for a dozen soldiers in financial need that were in excess of the amounts they required.   Ellis also admitted that after he approved these grants, he manipulated the soldiers to return some of the grant money to him.   In total, Ellis requested and received approximately $9,250 back from the grant recipients, which he converted to his own use.   AER is funded primarily through donations from active and retired soldiers.   For many soldiers, AER is their only source of funds for emergency expenses such as flights home to visit sick family members.   Ellis also admitted making false statements to investigators when questioned about the allegations in 2006.

This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys John P. Pearson and Richard B. Evans of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and was investigated by the Army Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and U.S. Army Audit Agency.