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.
Improving surveillance camera technology is helping homeowners fight back against thieves. The latest cameras are delivering clear and multi-angle images that can lead straight to the suspects.
News 8 Sports Director, Kyle Kraska, spent a few hours with Padres all-time great Trevor Hoffman who is headed to Cooperstown to be inducted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame.
Comic-con is famous for its crazy costumes, but sometimes those outrageous outfits fall apart at the worst time.
A 2-year-old girl is in the hospital Friday with serious injuries after she fell from a fourth-floor window at an apartment complex in San Diego's University City neighborhood, police said.
A 48-year-old National City resident was killed Friday in a solo motorcycle wreck near Mount Miguel High School, authorities reported.
A brush fire that erupted in a squatters camp spread through part of a La Jolla-area canyon Friday, blackening steep open terrain near clusters of large homes but causing no reported structural damage or injuries.
A wildfire spread over hilly rural terrain east of Ramona Friday afternoon, threatening several back-country homes and destroying one of them before ground and airborne crews could subdue the flames.
Scripps Health this week announced it would be expanding its walk-in, convenient care division, Scripps HealthExpress.
The California Highway Patrol will increase enforcement in the San Diego and Oceanside areas this weekend in an effort to reduce the frequency of motorcycle crashes, authorities said Friday.