Ex-Army Inspector Accused Of Stealing Troops' IDs In Loan Scam

As every police scandal everywhere shows, sometimes the upholders of law and decency can be the worst offenders.

The latest culprit may be James Robert Jones, 42, a former assistant inspector general at Fort Campbell, Ky., who was tasked with investigating misconduct. According to a federal indictment, Jones used his position to steal the identities of active duty soldiers -- including one who was killed in combat -- in order to obtain thousands of dollars of fraudulent bank loans, reports The Associated Press.

The indictment, handed down Wednesday, claims Jones, whose rank is sergeant first class, used the personal information of army officers, some of whom were deployed in Afghanistan, and one who was killed there, to successfully secure loans from two credit unions. He allegedly used their Social Security numbers and birth dates, and then made email accounts in their names.

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Jones called the allegations "manufactured" and said that he would plead not guilty. "There's a whole lot more to the story than what meets the eye," he told The Associated Press.

The indictment claims that between February and May of last year Jones applied for a $12,000 loan from Fort Campbell Federal Credit Union, withdrew unspecified cash amounts and purchased a cashier's check from the loan, and failed to make the payments.

Jones has been charged with aggravated identity theft, bank fraud, making a false statement to a financial institution, obstructing justice, and making false statements to investigators. The indictment states that when Jones was approached by investigators, he blamed the deceased officer for orchestrating the scheme, and also asked a colleague to delete evidence from his work computer.

"This defendant abused a position of trust," said federal prosecutor David Rivera in announcing the indictment, "and used his position to specifically target those who serve our country."

U.S. troops are one of the more vulnerable groups of Americans when it comes to impersonation and identity theft. They must regularly disclose their Social Security numbers, according to a 2010 report from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and that risk is compounded by long deployments, where soldiers may not recognize damage to their bank accounts or credit ratings for months.

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