Service Members on the Texas Military Department’s Military Funeral Honors team provide rendering of honors to Richard A. Overton, America’s Oldest World War II veteran, at the Texas National Cemetery in Austin, Texas on Jan. 12, 2019. The burial ceremony brought together loved ones, service members, and the public. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Gerardo Escobar
Detective Chantelle Davis and Police Officer Lynea Sanders, both listed as being with the New Orleans Police Department in a US Attorney’s Office press release, are part of a group of seven charged for stealing more than $100,000 from the US Department of the Army.
“We take allegations of this nature very seriously,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said in a statement, reported The Associated Press. “We cannot allow the dishonest actions these officers are accused of to jeopardize the trust our citizens have in this department.”
The two officers have been on administrative reassignment since Sept. 24, 2020.
Chantelle Davis, an NOPD detective, and NOPD officer Lynea Sanders are accused of stealing from the Army by claiming reimbursement for the performance of military funeral honors ceremonies that never happened.
— wdsu (@wdsu) January 30, 2021
US Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced charges against Davis, Sanders, Christopher O’Connor, Derrick Branch, Leroy Daniels Jr., Cody Francis, and Terrance Howard, all prior reservists with the 377th Theater Sustainment Command in New Orleans for claiming reimbursement for the performance of military funeral honors ceremonies that never happened throughout 2016.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2000 authorizes sacred military funeral honors for active-duty soldiers, retirees, and veterans. Military funeral honors are performed for qualifying individuals at the request of their family.
O’Connor, a former US Army pay technician, submitted “fraudulent reimbursement requests” for each soldier, including himself. The breakdown of the soldiers’ ages and how much money each is accused of defrauding from the US Department of the Army, according to the indictment, is as follows:
If convicted, all seven face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release after imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and a “mandatory $100 special assessment.” According to the US Attorney’s Office, the US is seeking full repayment of the approximate $101,858.19 stolen.
The NOPD and the 377th Theater Sustainment Command had not responded to requests for further information at publication time.
Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.
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