A retired Navy man from Hopewell will spend more than five years in federal prison for joining in a conspiracy to rip off the government with other Navy personnel in Mississippi.
Richard S. Bellock, 43, who spent 20 years in the Navy after enlisting in 1993, was sentenced to 70 months Thursday in U.S. District Court in Gulfport, Miss.
He was also ordered to pay $163,749 in restitution along with several of co-defendants indicted after a Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe targeting workers at the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion in Gulfport.
Mr. Bellock and three others had been indicted last summer on charges of conspiring to make false claims for illegal payments from 2006 through 2011.
Mr. Bellock, a logistics specialist, was among at least nine Navy personnel prosecuted in separate cases for their roles in the scheme while assigned to the Gulfport construction battalion, commonly called SeaBees.
Federal prosecutors said the defendants created false travel vouchers for payments for themselves and for other members of the battalion, stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the Department of Defense over a six-year period.
Mr. Bellock, indicted in June, was charged with wire fraud, identity theft and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. involving a travel voucher filed in someone else’s name and paid to his bank account.
He pleaded guilty in December to the conspiracy charge in exchange for the government dropping the wire fraud and identity theft counts.
His wife, relatives and friends all wrote letters to the judge requesting that he receive probation, and his parents told the judge that he was just “following orders.”
Mr. Bellock grew up in Hopewell, serving as a volunteer firefighter after high school, and then joined the Navy at 22. He had deployed overseas many times and served in Afghanistan and Kuwait with the SeaBees.
He was honorably discharged in 2013.
Correction (posted March 28, 2014): A previous version of this story incorrectly identified where Richard S. Bellock is from.
Torsten Ove: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-231-0132.