SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An ex-Marine Corps reservist denied Tuesday that he defrauded the U.S. military out of tens of thousands of dollars through a scheme involving false travel and lodging claims at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
Luis Gilbert Menchaca, 32, of Romoland pleaded not guilty to fraud and bribery charges during a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Crawford in San Diego.
The defendant and another former USMC sergeant, 32-year-old Manuel Ramos Padilla of Lompoc, allegedly submitted false monthly claims for lodging reimbursements for Menchaca, who periodically was called to active duty at MCAS Miramar during his period of service from 2002 to 2011.Ramos was arraigned on Jan. 24.
Prosecutors allege Menchaca and Ramos created phony rental bills to substantiate the false reimbursement claims. Ramos worked in an administrative office at the northern San Diego air base and processed lodging claims for reservists.
A Mission Valley address where Menchaca claimed to be renting a residence was, in fact, a nonexistent street number, according to court documents.
Prosecutors allege that Menchaca received housing payments as a result of the scheme, while Ramos demanded and received thousands of dollars of bribe payments in exchange for facilitating the fraud.
The 10-count indictment accuses Menchaca and Ramos of conspiracy to commit bribery and making false claims, and charges Ramos with substantive counts of bribery. Both face prison time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines if convicted.
Their next scheduled court appearance is a March 1 motions hearing.
A 27-year-old man suffered fatal injuries as the result of a "punching game'' inside of a bar Saturday morning in the Gaslamp
neighborhood of San Diego.
SANDAG began removing call boxes along urban highways throughout the San Diego region this month and will continue to do so through June, reflecting a decrease in call volume due to the increase in cell phone ownership.
Authorities today announced that police have arrested a suspect in connection with Friday's sexual assault on the campus of San Diego Mesa College. The name of the suspect was not immediately released.
Showers will be mostly light Saturday morning, decreasing into early Saturday afternoon. Another round of showers expected to push through late afternoon ending late Saturday night.
Police Chief David Nisleit Friday strongly disavowed what he described as an unofficial, "never authorized" departmental program that rewarded officers for making narcotics arrests.
On Friday, San Diego Police announced their search for a suspect involved in a robbery off the San Diego State University campus.
A court-appointed receiver has taken control of a Pacific Beach "hoarder house" that has accumulated trash, created unsafe conditions for children and harbored vermin in recent years, the San Diego City Attorney's Office announced Friday.
The owners of Hauser's Patio reached out to News 8 Friday morning asking to be put in contact with the couple who had their furniture stolen from their patio in Pacific Beach this week.