Ex-Marine pleads guilty to housing allowance fraud

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SAN DIEGO — A former Camp Pendleton-based Marine gunnery sergeant pleaded guilty Thursday in San Diego federal court to submitting false lodging reimbursement requests to the Marine Corps totaling almost $100,000.

courtFormer Gunnery Sgt. Devin Pierre Alario, 40, faces a maximum five years in prison when he is sentenced July 25.

Alario agreed to pay full restitution to the Marine Corps.

According to the plea agreement, under certain circumstances, reservists who are called to active duty become eligible for a housing reimbursement benefit during the term of their active duty, in addition to the basic allowance for housing that they receive.

Prosecutors said Alario exploited that housing reimbursement benefit by falsely claiming reimbursement for rent he never paid.

Specifically, on 27 occasions from June 2009 through October 2011, Alario submitted false rental receipts that inflated the amount he was paying for rent, included a fictitious landlord, or contained a false address. To substantiate his lodging claims and conceal the fraud, Alario also submitted fake leases that he prepared.

Typically, Alario’s false claims sought rental reimbursement for up to $3,800 per month. All told, he made $95,013 from his fraud, according to prosecutors.

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