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U.S. Navy Reserve Officer Convicted for Bribery Scheme

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First Trial Conviction Related to Afghan Allies Protection Act
A federal jury convicted a U.S. Navy Reserve commander today on multiple criminal charges related to a years-long bribery scheme involving Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for Afghan nationals.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Jeromy Pittmann, 53, of Pensacola, Florida, received bribe money from Afghan nationals in exchange for drafting, submitting, and falsely verifying false letters of recommendation for citizens of Afghanistan who applied for SIVs with the U.S. Department of State. Each year, the State Department offers limited SIVs to enter the United States for Afghan nationals employed as translators for U.S. military personnel.

In connection with this program, Pittmann signed over 20 false letters in which he represented, among other things, that he personally knew and had supervised the Afghan national visa applicants while they worked as translators in support of the U.S. military and NATO; that the applicants’ lives were in jeopardy because the Taliban considered them to be traitors; and that, based on his personal knowledge of the applicants, he believed they did not pose any threat to the national security of the United States. In reality, Pittmann did not know the applicants and had no basis for recommending them for SIVs. In exchange, Pittmann received several thousands of dollars in bribes. To avoid detection, Pittmann received the bribe money through an intermediary and created false invoices purporting to show that Pittmann was receiving the money for legitimate work unrelated to his military service.

The jury convicted Pittmann of conspiracy to commit bribery and false writing, bribery, false writing, and conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 21 and faces a maximum penalty of 45 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Inspector General Robert P. Storch of the Department of Defense; Inspector General John F. Sopko of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR); and Special Agent in Charge Greg Gross of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s (NCIS) Economic Crimes Field Office made the announcement.

SIGAR, NCIS, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Matt Kahn and Theodore M. Kneller of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

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