Army captain charged with $700K theft

March 6, 2009 at 8:21 PM
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PORTLAND, Ore., March 6 (UPI) -- A U.S. Army captain faces trial for allegedly stealing $700,000 from an emergency fund in Iraq and sending it home in boxes.

Captain Michael Dung Nguyen, 28, of Beaverton, Ore., was ordered to return to his unit at Fort Lewis, Wash., after a hearing Thursday in federal court in Portland, Ore.

Dan Wardlaw, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service, said that Nguyen triggered an investigation by going on a spending spree that was clearly above his pay grade after he returned from Iraq, The Portland Oregonian reported.

"Buying a brand-new BMW and a Hummer will attract attention," Wardlaw said.

Nguyen, a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was deployed in Iraq from April 2007 to June 2008, where he was battalion civil affairs officer. He allegedly helped himself to $690,000 from the Commander's Emergency Response Program, a fund to provide humanitarian aid and reconstruction work in Iraq, officials said.

Nguyen pleaded not guilty to theft of government property, money laundering and carrying out structured financial transactions.

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