Ex-Fort Campbell official pleads guilty in scheme to defraud - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Ex-Fort Campbell official pleads guilty in scheme to defraud soldiers

James Robert Jones James Robert Jones

A former soldier pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court after he was accused of taking advantage of his comrades in an unbelievable way.

As the assistant inspector general in the military, the man's job was to seek out scammers and con artists. It turns out all he had to do was look in the mirror.

"He used and abused that position of trust to obtain these identities of soldiers who at the time were serving in Afghanistan," said U.S. Attorney David Rivera.

James Robert Jones was a first sergeant and an assistant inspector general at Fort Campbell, and his job was to seek out fraud within the military.

Instead, Jones used his position, skills and power to commit his crimes. He accessed soldiers' personal information, then used their identities to take out loans and withdraw thousands of dollars.

"It just has catastrophic effects on your ability to function when you come back. And these are consequences that are not only felt by the soldiers themselves but by their families," Rivera said.

It gets worse. Officials say when Jones got caught, he lied to investigators, deleted evidence on his laptop and then tried to blame the whole thing on a fallen soldier.

"Who had nothing to do with these crimes. We want to be clear about that," Rivera said.

After pleading guilty, Jones now faces serious jail time and up to $1 million in fines.

The U.S. Department of Justice also hopes to get restitution for the victims.

"We will do everything we can to protect them, to protect their families and to protect their well being, including their identities," Rivera said.

Jones and his attorney would not go on camera for this story or make any official statements, but when asked if he felt badly about what he did, Jones said "definitely."

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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