Friday, May 25, 2018

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Arrested and Charged for Defrauding Insurance Providers

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that an officer of the U.S. Army has been charged for allegedly defrauding insurance providers to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent insurance payments.

Christopher James DeMure, 40, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, has been named in a criminal complaint charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.  DeMure was arrested this morning and is expected to make his initial appearance on the charges tomorrow afternoon.

The complaint alleges that, from September 2014 until February 2018, DeMure engaged in a scheme to defraud USAA Federal Savings Bank (USAA) and American Express (AMEX) to obtain insurance payments by submitting fraudulent claims and other fraudulent documents.  DeMure spent much of the insurance payout money to pay off automobile loans, credit cards, mortgage loans, and other personal debts and expenses, including a 2016 Chevrolet Suburban and a 2016 Audi A7.  In all, DeMure’s fraudulent insurance claims allegedly sought payments in the amount of approximately $475,000, and that DeMure has actually received approximately $394,000, from USAA and AMEX, combined.

More specifically, it is alleged that DeMure purchased items of value, such as jewelry, performance bicycles, clothing, and electronics that were later the subject of insurance claims that he filed with USAA and/or AMEX.  On multiple occasions, DeMure cancelled an online order for or physically returned items for a full refund, and thereafter listed those same items on a fraudulent insurance claim with USAA and/or AMEX, wherein he falsely claimed that the item was lost, misplaced, and/or stolen.  Beginning in October 2015, DeMure began to file parallel fraudulent insurance claims for certain items with both USAA and AMEX.  In some cases, DeMure provided different explanations for the loss, misplacement, or theft of those items to USAA and AMEX.

DeMure’s scheme to defraud involved at least seven separate loss incidents.  For example, in July 2016, DeMure moved from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.  The U.S. Army paid for a company to pack and move DeMure’s residential household goods from Georgia to Alaska.  Those household goods were packed by the moving company on July 13, 2016.  On July 21, 2016, DeMure contacted USAA and claimed that a U-Haul trailer that he had rented had been burglarized in Louisville, Kentucky, where he stopped on the way to Indiana.  DeMure claimed the loss amount was $215,317.68.  The following day DeMure contacted the Louisville Metro Police Department to report the burglary.  In his USAA claim, DeMure identified numerous items as having been stolen from the U-Haul in Louisville, ranging from jewelry to performance bicycles.  The jewelry items included a Tiffany & Co. necklace that DeMure told USAA was a family heirloom, which had an appraised value of $35,000.  In fact, business records show that DeMure purchased the necklace on June 1, 2016, had it appraised on June 15, 2016, returned it on July 6, 2016, and on July 11, 2016, had it insured by USAA.  Altogether, DeMure received an overall payment benefit of $183,339.73 from the claims he filed with USAA and AMEX related to the purported July 20, 2016, U-Haul burglary.

The complaint further alleges that some of the supporting documents that DeMure submitted to USAA and AMEX were fraudulent.  For example, in support of an insurance claim, DeMure allegedly submitted a fake Palmer Police Department report to AMEX to evidence the loss incident in question.

If convicted, DeMure faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or both, for the most serious charges alleged in the complaint.  Under federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted the investigation leading to the charges in this case, with assistance from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (commonly known as CID).  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea W. Hattan.

A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

DoD Official: U.S. Military Continues ‘High State of Vigilance’ in Korea

By Lisa Ferdinando, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military continues its “maximum pressure campaign” in regard to North Korea, and U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula are “ready to fight tonight,” the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson said today.

Dana W. White confirmed Defense Secretary James N. Mattis spoke with President Donald J. Trump today, ahead of Trump announcing that he has terminated the planned June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

U.S. forces on the peninsula maintain their usual high state of vigilance, White and the director of the Joint Staff, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., told reporters in a news briefing.

“In terms of we are ready to fight tonight -- that's always been the case,” White said. “Our position has always been to support our diplomatic-led effort.”

‘High State of Vigilance’

North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, has proven to be unpredictable in the past, McKenzie said. U.S. forces, he added, are ready to respond quickly to anything that could happen. He described the stance as the “normal state of vigilance” of the United States.

“We maintain a very high state of vigilance in regard to the DPRK, and we will continue that going forward, to include our missile defense activities,” McKenzie said.
The general added the termination of the summit has not affected the military posture in any way. He further explained the recent budget will allow the military to address some readiness concerns, including the readiness of military forces that might be deployed in the event of operations on the Korean Peninsula.

Eucom Commander Hosts Conference on Regional Issues

WIESBADEN, Germany -- Challenges and threats across the European theater, Russian malign influence and taking a whole-of-government approach to operations were among the topics of a three-day conference of diplomatic and military leaders based in Europe here this week.

Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command, hosted a U.S. ambassador and European chiefs of defense conference, allowing the leaders to come together to continue to strengthen collaboration and embrace knowledge-sharing surrounding topics of mutual interest, officials said.

Philip Reeker, the general’s civilian deputy, conducted the first day of meetings,  among 30 U. S. ambassadors to European countries and State Department leaders to focus on strategic goals and communication and on economic and management issues with partners and allies.

Eucom subject matter experts joined the ambassadors on the second day to continue the dialogue with panel discussions on topics including Russian deterrence, crisis response, military mobility strategy and challenges in the eastern Mediterranean.

“Coming together in one location is a great way to facilitate the discussion of how we are working together on the same goals; much the same way we must merge State and Defense strategic initiatives to tackle our missions and goals,” Reeker said.

Exchanging Ideas and Viewpoints

Reeker emphasized the importance of the exchange of ideas and viewpoints. “In Europe’s constantly evolving and multifaceted security environment, it is more important than ever to ensure that State and Defense are working from the same policy guidance and that our respective resources are coordinated to produce maximum effect.”

 Following the ambassadors’ meetings, Scaparrotti led a third day with European chiefs of defense, where the discussion focused on better understanding and addressing the threats associated with countering violent extremist organizations. He emphasized the need for ready and postured forces, one of four priorities in which Eucom is focused.

“In order to address the challenges and threats to U.S. interests in Europe and to further strengthen the unity of our alliance and partnerships,” Scaparrotti said, “our interagency needs to be appropriately postured and synchronized in both planning and execution.”

Panel discussions were held to bring subject matter experts together to share insights and best practices.

Scaparrotti stressed Eucom’s commitment to supporting a whole-of-government approach to addressing threats across the theater.

“No nation stands alone facing the threat of terrorism, and that includes the United States,” the general said. “It’s clear that violent extremists are active in the European theater, not just along Europe’s periphery. Together, we will ensure that Europe remains whole, free and at peace.”