Soldier In Court On Theft Charges Greets CBS4 Reporter With Profanity

DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado Army National Guard soldier made a trip to court Tuesday morning as part of a fraud investigation. He is one of several charged with receiving tens of thousands of dollars they didn’t deserve.

The case is part of a national scandal that was the subject of a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing recently.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger attempts to talk to Christopher Clark (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger attempts to talk to Christopher Clark (credit: CBS)

More than $29 million in fraud is believed to have taken place in one of the largest investigations the Army has conducted.

With a not so warm welcome, National Guardsman Christopher Clark uttered profanity to CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger and tried to hide his face outside of court Tuesday morning.

Clark is accused of taking $28,000 in bonuses for helping sign recruits. He allegedly obtained the recruits personal identifying information from a Thornton office and then claimed $1,000 for each enlistee and another $1,000 when they shipped out to basic combat training.

“You don’t know the whole story,” a woman with Clark at court told Sallinger.

Clark is one of several Colorado National Guardsmen charged in the same scheme. Jerry Wilson is accused of taking $43,000 and Luke Peelgrane is accused of taking $25,000. Peelgrane’s attorney told Sallinger that Peelgrane is not guilty.

“I am not happy about any guardsman that is charged with wrong-doing in these particular cases. We’ll wait and see what happens through the legal process,” Command Sgt. Major Rob Lawrence with the Colorado National Guard said. “You are innocent until proven otherwise, and so those folks remain in the Guard and their security clearances have been suspended and they have been flagged.”

He said that means they are not eligible for any favorable action such as promotions or deployment. Lawrence said what they are accused of is not in line with Guard values.

In Clark’s case, prosecutors say 13 soldiers Clark said he interviewed claimed he had not recruited them. An arrest document says Clark admitted it was wrong and was willing to give back the money.

Besides the three facing charges from the Adams County District Attorney’s Office, one other guardsman has already pleaded guilty in federal court and is due to be sentenced soon.

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