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Former Fort Bragg sergeant gets five years for theft, kickbacks

Posted April 9

— A former U.S. Army sergeant was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to five years in prison for accepting kickbacks on military contracts and stealing fuel from a base while serving in Afghanistan.

James Edward Travis, while assigned to the Operational Detachment - Bravo for Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, was a contracting officer representative responsible for approving the completion of contracts and payments. Travis accepted kickbacks from various vendors on a “quid pro quo” basis for various contracts ranging from $4,000 to $7,000 per contract, federal prosecutors said.

Travis, 39, of Hope Mills, solicited the help of a Department of Defense civilian contractor to get the kickback funds back to the United States. When investigators asked about the cash, Travis claimed it came from gambling winnings and asked the contractor to lie, prosecutors said.

“Special Forces units’ successes in Afghanistan are based on trust, cooperation, and mutual respect with our Afghan counterparts and the Afghan people," wrote Brigadier General Darsie D. Rogers in a letter to the court. "We pride ourselves in our ‘quiet professionalism.’ SFC Travis’ actions were anything but professional. He disgraced not only U.S. Army special forces, but all soldiers who served honorably in Afghanistan.”

In addition, Travis, along with another solider and a local Afghan, stole fuel from a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. Travis paid the soldier to escort the Afghan onto base, allow him to load fuel onto his truck and escort him off.

Authorities determined 182,815 gallons of fuel were stolen, which, based on the average price of $2.31 per gallon for JP-8 fuel, adds up to $422,302.65.

Travis has been ordered to pay back that amount.

“Theft of fuel in a war zone is serious. Not only does it rob U.S. taxpayers and damage the reconstruction effort, stolen fuel can also wind up in the hands of insurgents bent on harming Americans," Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Spoko said in a statement. "There must be zero tolerance for this kind of crime, and SIGAR is dedicated to ensuring that anyone engaging in this activity will face justice.”

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