A former Marine was sentenced to 33 months in prison for embezzling more than $500,000 from the Marine Corps and just over $20,000 from a popular Christmas holiday charity called Toys for Tots.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Aragon, a former supply chief for 3d Force Reconnaissance Company out of Mobile, Alabama, and the unit’s Toys for Tots program coordinator, used his position to file fraudulent charges to a unit travel card and a credit card linked to the toy donation charity.
According to court documents, Aragon conspired with his wife, Teneshia Aragon, and Dana Davis, owner of the Runway Café in Mobile, Alabama, to defraud the Marine Corps of $554,044.08.
But the Corps picked up on the bogus charges during an audit and found serious discrepancies such as invoices not matching the unit’s actual activities in the area, the number of meals were excessive compared to the number of Marines in the unit, and the rosters of the 3d Force Marines were fabricated, according to the release.
And while serving as 3d Force Recon's Toys for Tots program coordinator between December 2013 and December 2014, Aragon conspired with his wife and used the unit’s credit card linked to the holiday charity to make unauthorized payments to himself, according to the release.
Toys for Tots lost nearly $23,044.70 in the scam, but Aragon and his wife later gave back $3,000 to the nonprofit.
In May, all three defendants plead guilty to trying to defraud the Marine Corps.
Dana Davis was sentenced to six-months in prison in August and Teneshia Aragon was sentenced to five years of probation with six months of that as home confinement on Sept. 10.
Christopher Aragon was sentenced to 33 months in prison and was ordered to undergo “three years of supervised release after finishing his term of imprisonment, pay a $100 mandatory special assessment, receive mental health treatment, undergo credit restrictions,” the release stated.
All three were also ordered to pay back the Marine Corps for the money they had embezzled.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.