Flight Lieutenant Jason Fletcher was sentenced at Elgin Sheriff Court on Tuesday after admitting at an earlier appearance that he provided seven false invoices to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) related to his duties with a support unit.
42-year-old Fletcher’s duties in Afghanistan included educating and informing the civilian population through talks and radio broadcasts. In the course of his work he received four invoices totalling 56,000 US Dollars for contracts with radio stations in the Lashkar Gah district.
However, Fletcher presented invoices totalling 217,103 US Dollars to his bosses at MoD. On his return to Moray he visited banks and currency exchanges in and around Lossiemouth, Elgin and Inverness where he converted part of the difference into pounds.
The court was told that Fletcher carried out a total of 16 currency exchanges between September 11, 2011 and May 25, 2012 to a total of £25,311. His actions were revealed when military police held an enquiry into the large sums being exchanged by Fletcher.
The procurator fiscal for organised crime and counter terrorism, Lindsey Miller, said: “He chose to exploit the trust that had been placed in him to his own advantage and defrauded the Ministry of Defence of a significant sum of money.
“His carefully planned deception may have temporarily allowed him to profit from his actions, but he now faces 18 months behind bars and an order made to confiscate his illegal profits and put them back into the public purse where they belong.”
A confiscation order for £92,759.47 was made against Fletcher.
A spokesman for the MoD said: “The MoD has a zero-tolerance policy to fraud and co-operated fully with the civilian authorities in bringing Mr Fletcher to justice. We hope that his sentence serves as a warning to others that fraud within the military will not be tolerated.”