A former Special Forces soldier has been indicted by a federal grand jury in a scheme to illegally allow U.S. military equipment in Afghanistan to be stolen and sold on the black market and to use the proceeds to get a pool at his new home in North Carolina along with several vehicles.
Joseph Russell Graff was stationed at Fort Bragg in 2012 when he was deployed to Afghanistan and assigned to Forward Operating Base Salerno for a few months. As soldiers were preparing to move to a base in Kabul, Graff accepted $300,000 to $350,000 in cash to let an Afghani into a secure section of FOB Salerno so he could steal military equipment and sell it on the black market, according to an indictment handed up last week.
Graff smuggled the cash back to Pope Field inside a metal sign, shuffled it among various banks to avoid reporting requirements and then used much of it to have an in-ground pool and deck built at his home in the Pitt County town of Grimesland and to help purchase a Polaris RZR 800S jet ski, a 2006 Jeep Liberty, a 2014 Mazda 6 and a 2013 GMC Yukon, according to the indictment.1
Graff, who now works for the Morehead City Fire Department, is charged with embezzlement, bribery, illegally structuring bank transactions, money laundering and possession of a machine gun.
Federal authorities want to seize the vehicles, the jet ski, cash and several weapons from Graff, as well as force the sale of his home, with the proceeds going to the government, according to the indictment.
It wasn’t made clear if the case against Graff is the sole indictment that will be forthcoming on this case or if the government believes that Graff did not act alone in the alleged theft.
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