Two female submariners found guilty of financial fraud

Two of the first female submariners in the U.S. Navy have been found guilty of financial misconduct in connection with fraudulent travel expense claims.

Both were charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and found guilty of fraud and conduct unbecoming a naval officer at a disciplinary hearing, Cmdr. Monica Rousselow, spokeswoman for the commander of the submarine force, said Monday.

One of the women also was found guilty of falsifying an official statement, she said.

The travel claim fraud involved about $4,500 per officer and occurred before the women, who were supply officers, reported to their submarines, Rousselow said.

Rear Adm. Joseph E. Tofalo, commander of Submarine Group 10, conducted the "masts," or hearings, at Kings Bay, Ga. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service led the investigation.

The submarine force said in March that three of the first female submariners would be taken off their submarines during an investigation into alleged financial misconduct. The third woman later was found not to have been involved in the misconduct, and she returned to her boat, Rousselow said.

The two who were found guilty were reassigned to the Naval Submarine Support Center and Trident Refit Facility Kings at Kings Bay. The Navy Personnel Command will determine whether they remain in the service, Rousselow said.

Other Navy personnel who were not assigned to submarines were thought to be involved in the misconduct. NCIS confirmed Monday there were two other cases. One is ongoing, and no charges have been filed so far. In the other case, the Navy decided not to prosecute, according to NCIS.

The women involved were not identified because of federal privacy laws. Typically only those in leadership positions who are involved in wrongdoing are named, Rousselow said.

A female alternate who went through the training took the place of one of the women. The other woman will be replaced when the next group of female submariners graduates.

Rousselow said the incident had a "minimal" impact on the integration of women on submarines.

"Our feedback from the fleet continues to be that the women who are already assigned are integrating nicely and on track with their qualifications," she said.

j.mcdermott@theday.com

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