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Lejeune Marine gets presidential pardon for cutting pennies

Posted December 4, 2010

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— A one-time Camp Lejuene Marine has been pardoned for a nearly 50-year-old conviction for cutting up pennies that he didn't know he had, according to CNN.

Ronald Lee Foster, of Beaver Falls, Pa., was convicted in 1963 of mutilating coins and sentenced to a year probation and a $20 fine.

Foster told CNN that he was among 17 Camp Lejeune Marines who came up with a plan to cut pennies into the shape of dimes. The Marines used the altered pennies to cut down on the cost of soda and cigarettes in vending machines in the barracks.

But the U.S. Secret Service caught them, and their commanding officer entered a plea on their behalf.

Foster told CNN that he served in the Marines for 12 more years, worked in manufacturing, got married and had a son.

He didn't know he had a felony conviction on his record, CNN reports, until he applied for a gun permit in 2005.

Foster was among the first nine recipients of pardons from Obama, which were announced on Friday.

The White House declined to give details on the cases or comment on why these particular people were selected.

"The president was moved by the strength of the applicants' post-conviction efforts at atonement, as well as their superior citizenship and individual achievements in the years since their convictions," said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin.

Others receiving pardons were:

  • James Bernard Banks, of Liberty, Utah, sentenced to two years of probation in 1972 for illegal possession of government property.
  • Russell James Dixon, of Clayton, Ga., sentenced to two years of probation in 1960 for a liquor law violation.
  • Laurens Dorsey, of Syracuse, N.Y., sentenced in 1998 to five years of probation and $71,000 in restitution for conspiracy to defraud by making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Timothy James Gallagher, of Navasota, Texas, sentenced in 1982 to three years of probation for cocaine possession and conspiracy to distribute.
  • Roxane Kay Hettinger, Powder Springs, Ga., sentenced in 1986 to 30 days in jail and three years of probation for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
  • Edgar Leopold Kranz Jr., of Minot, N.D., who received 24 months of confinement and a pay reduction for cocaine use, adultery and bouncing checks.
  • Floretta Leavy, of Rockford, Ill., sentenced in 1984 to 366 days in prison and three years of parole for drug offenses.
  • Scoey Lathaniel Morris, of Crosby, Texas, sentenced in 1991 to three years of probation and $1,200 restitution for counterfeiting offenses.
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