Virginia Beach Coast Guardsman pleads guilty to false expense claims

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Norfolk, Va. – A Coast Guardsman faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to filing false living expense claims.

43-year-old Jeffrey T. Byrne was charged on March 25 following his admission of the scam to investigators in January.

Byrne, a reservist, admitted that when he was activated in September 2011 he was living in Hampton Roads but claimed to be living in Frisco, North Carolina to claim higher lodging and per diem costs based on living more than fifty miles from his assigned duty location.

He also began renting a home from his then girlfriend, whom he later married, even though reservists are prohibited from renting their temporary lodging from friends or family.

In July 2012, Byrne married his girlfriend and continued to file lodging and receipts using his spouse’s maiden name, even after she legally changed her last name.  He also continued to enter a false name and date of birth for his spouse on USCG dependent documents in order to prevent the USCG from detecting the fraud.

Byrne has since paid back the estimated loss of $112,346.78 to the U.S. Coast Guard Finance Center in Chesapeake.

He will be sentenced on July 2 by Chief United States District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.