‘Powerful’ Army Colonel Faces Court-martial On Fraud Charges
EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ An Army colonel accused of traveling without authorization to his ranch and to Europe faces a court-martial in what military investigators are calling a ″high-profile case involving a powerful officer.″
Col. John W. Moore, 48, who is stationed at Fort Bliss, is accused of submitting false expense claims to the Army totaling more than $4,000.
Moore, the former director of a weapons testing task force at Fort Bliss, is charged with two counts of submitting false claims for travel expenses, one each of larceny involving numerous vouchers submitted, wrongful appropriation of a government vehicle and attempted larceny.
Col. John Tiedemann, staff judge advocate at Fort Bliss, said Tuesday a $1,399 claim submitted by Moore for a trip to Europe that the government refused to pay triggered an investigation.
A confidential informant told military investigators that Moore engaged in ″extensive travel fraud″ on trips to Germany, Italy and possibly Turkey, according to the investigators’ affidavits filed in federal court.
Court documents also allege that Moore charged the Army for about $3,000 in trips he made to his Oklahoma ranch between January 1982 and December 1983.
The chief military investigator in the case, Floyd Lanier, filed an affidavit that alleges Moore fired or replaced subordinates who questioned his activities and tried to change records of his temporary duty assignments.
″Further, this office has received a phone call by a general officer from Washington, D.C., expressing concern that this matter be resolved as expeditiously as possible,″ said Lanier’s May 18, 1984 affidavit. ″In short, this is a high-profile case involving a powerful officer in the U.S. Army.″
Tiedemann said Moore still worked at Fort Bliss, but he was unsure of Moore’s current assignment. Moore could not be reached for comment Wednesday because his telephone number is unlisted and officials at the fort would not say where he is assigned.
Until he was removed in April as director of the Joint Forward Area Test Force (JFATF), Moore had the authority to schedule temporary duty assignment trips to coordinate his task force’s activities with other Department of Defense agencies, court records show.
Between September 1981 and December 1983, Moore made 15 trips to Oklahoma City or Dallas, according to a May affidavit filed by Fort Bliss Lt. Col. John Hay, whose office conducted the investigation.
Moore raises about 90 head of cattle on his ranch, which is about 135 about 135 miles from the two cities, Hay’s affidavit said.
Travel vouchers showed rental car mileage exceeded 400, 500 and as much as 800 miles for short temporary duty jobs, court documents said.
″Since there are no JFATF activities to coordinate within Dallas and there is only Tinker Air Force Base, with a limited JFATF activity in Oklahoma City, a most reasonable supposition to make is that some, many, or all of the applicant’s trips to Oklahoma City or Dallas were for the purpose of engaging in personal business or for leisure time at his ranch in Lane, Okla.,″ Hay’s affidavit said.
Tiedemann said a court-martial on the charges could be held within the next few months.If convicted, Moore could be sentenced to 12 years in prison.