SAN DIEGO — A former U.S. Navy SEAL who stole nearly $1.2 million from a dozen investors in a failed business endeavor, including 11 active and retired SEALs, was sentenced today to six years and eight months in state prison.
Jason Matthew Mullaney, 43, pleaded guilty last September to securities fraud, grand theft and tax evasion. He agreed to make full restitution of more than $1 million.
Mullaney, who served in the Navy for 13 years, was successful in the mortgage business before starting a money-lending business which ultimately failed, said defense attorney Patrick Dudley.
Mullaney apologized to everyone who trusted him with their investments and in some cases their life savings. He promised to repay all victims.
“I will emerge from this a better man,” Mullaney said. “I did everything I could to save the (investment) fund.”
But Deputy District Attorney Hector Jimenez said Mullaney used his SEAL status to get fellow SEALs and a family friend to invest in his business, Trident Financial Holdings and Acquisitions, then transferred the money into his personal bank accounts for his own use.
Jimenez called the defendant “selfish,” noting that Mullaney didn’t pay anyone back between 2010 and 2012 when he had the chance.
Three former SEALs told Judge Frederick Maguire that Mullaney was a good and honorable man who got in over his head in the investment business.
“He trusted people he shouldn’t have,” one former SEAL said.
The judge, who imposed the minimum term under the plea bargain, said the defendant’s actions were out of character and that Mullaney was unprepared to handle failure in his business endeavor.
Maguire noted Mullaney suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression and had no prior criminal record.
“There is no worse thing to come out of a SEAL’s mouth than betrayal.” said a victim of Mullaney.
One of Mullaney’s victims, a retired Navy SEAL who did not want to be identified tells FOX 5 Mullaney’s actions went against everything in the SEAL Ethos. Instead of standing by his brothers, he betrayed the bond and trust and ran from the fight.
“It goes against everything we believe in. He had the trust of his teammates and friends. He misused that trust and now it’s time for him to be sentenced and be held accountable.” he said.
“You tarnished the good SEAL name,” the judge told the defendant. “You screwed up. You have to take your lumps for it. The damage here is immeasurable.”