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Soldier guilty in desert-boot cash theft


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POSTED: Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A former Schofield Barracks Army captain stole $400,000 cash from a vault in Afghanistan while deployed in Kandahar in 2004 and sent the money to Oahu in the mail hidden in three pairs of military-issue desert boots, according to federal court records.

David Silviano Gilliam, 39, pleaded guilty yesterday to theft and money laundering.

“;I took money from Kandahar and transported it over to the U.S. and engaged in a financial transaction to purchase a house,”; Gilliam said.

According to his plea agreement, Gilliam took $254,000 of the stolen money in a duffel bag to a First Hawaiian Bank branch when he returned to Oahu in 2005 to purchase a cashier's check to buy a house.

Gilliam also pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return, failing to list the stolen money as income.

He faces up to 10 years in prison for the theft and money laundering, and three years on the tax charges when he is sentenced in January.

Gilliam was part of the 125th Finance Battalion's Alpha Detachment in Kandahar in April 2004. He was responsible for disbursing funds to pay for projects in Afghanistan, according to court records.

His position required him to live in a vault that held both U.S. and Afghan currency.

Because the currency exchange rate fluctuated, his job required him to complete standard forms to document losses that resulted from the fluctuations.

The government says Gilliam concealed his theft by stating a loss from currency exchange rate fluctuation equal to the amount he stole.