published Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Fort Campbell former Army inspector stole soldiers' IDs for money

NASHVILLE — A former Army post inspector whose job was to investigate misconduct pleaded guilty on Tuesday to stealing the identities of other officers to obtain bank loans and then trying to blame his crimes on a deceased officer.

James Robert Jones was an assistant inspector general at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky-Tennessee border in 2013, when he used his position to obtain personal identifying information of active duty officers, some of whom were deployed to Afghanistan.

According to the plea agreement, the 43-year-old Jones, of Woodlawn, used the officers' birth dates, Social Security numbers and other personal information to open bank accounts in their names and then apply for $72,000 in loans.

After he was indicted last year, Jones, whose rank was sergeant first class, told The Associated Press in an email that he was innocent. He called the allegations "disturbing and shocking" and said he was "embarrassed and saddened for the government."

But in the plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Nashville on Tuesday, Jones admitted to the scheme, including trying to place blame on a deceased U.S. Army officer after the fraud was discovered.

In an interview with a U.S. Secret Service agent, Jones falsely claimed he had obtained the personal information of the victims from the deceased officer, according to the plea agreement. He then asked a co-worker to delete records from his laptop.

The plea agreement does not identify the deceased soldier or the soldiers who were victims of the scheme.

Sentencing is August 11.

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