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Theft from Army in Afghanistan nets 4-year term


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POSTED: Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If a local bank had not reported in 2005 that former Schofield Barracks Army Capt. David Silivano Gilliam walked into one of its branches with $254,000 cash to buy a cashier's check, Gilliam's theft of $450,000 from a vault in Afghanistan would have gone undetected, said Clare Connors, assistant U.S. attorney.

Businesses are required to report single cash transactions of more than $10,000 to the federal government. They must also report suspicious transactions of less than $10,000.

Gilliam, 39, and his wife walked into a First Hawaiian Bank branch with the $254,000 in a duffel bag, according to federal court records.

A federal judge sentenced Gilliam yesterday to four years and two months in prison for theft and money laundering. Senior U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor also sentenced Gilliam to three years in prison for failing to report the stolen money as income and ordered him to pay it back.

Gilliam will be allowed to serve both prison sentences at the same time.

Federal officials determined he spent all of the money after he and his family left Hawaii and moved to South Carolina, where the cashier's check was going to be used to buy a home.

Gilliam said he committed the crime to live a double life after failing to be accepted into the Army's elite Special Forces.

He was the disbursing officer for the 125th Finance Battalion's Alpha Detachment at Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan in 2004 and 2005. His job required him to disburse money to pay for reconstruction and other projects in Afghanistan.

The government says Gilliam concealed his theft by stating currency fluctuation losses equal to the amount of cash he stole. Gilliam mailed the stolen money to Oahu hidden in three pairs of military-issue desert boots, according to court records.

Gilliam's wife was not charged.