National Guardsman charged with taking $10G for funerals he never attended

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An Ohio National Guardsman who served as an area honor guard at funerals was indicted last week after investigators determined he racked up more than $10,000 in mileage expenses for 130 funerals he did not attend.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Daniel Edwards, 38, is charged with theft in office and tampering with records, according to the Dayton Daily News. Each of the felonies could land him in prison for up to three years, or saddle Edwards with a $10,000 fine if convicted. Edwards’ mileage claims totaled $10,852.

During a 10-month period, Edwards is alleged to have claimed mileage for 89 funerals he’s not listed as having attended. Investigators charge he claimed mileage to a funeral farther away than the one he actually attended 17 other times, and he claimed reimbursement to an area where no funeral occurred 24 times.

Edwards, who had been on full-time active duty with the Guard for more than 17 years before moving to a part-time role, tried to explain the discrepancies to investigators with the Ohio Inspector General. He allegedly told them that in most cases he wasn’t listed on official records because he attended the funerals covertly in order to observe the honor guard. Edwards said he had gotten complaints about some of the soldiers performing the duties.

He’s set for arraignment in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 16, according to WHIO.