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Con by posing as GI nets 18-month term

Ordered to pay $461,254 in restitution

Conning hundreds of thousands of dollars from area employers by claiming to be on active military service netted an 18-month prison sentence for a Fort Wayne man.

In November, 40-year-old Jerome Burney pleaded guilty to wire fraud. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Theresa Springmann sentenced him to 18 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay $461,254 in restitution, according to court documents.

A federal grand jury in Fort Wayne issued a six-count indictment against him in May, accusing him of wire fraud and mail fraud.

Burney applied for jobs at area companies that provided military pay differential policies.

Those policies offered employees who were deployed with the Army National Guard or other branches of the service an amount of money equal to the difference in their base rate of pay at their employer and the amount of money they would be paid by the military during their deployment, according to court documents.

Burney would then fax military deployment orders to his employers, saying he would be away from his job beginning on a certain date and continuing for up to a year, with the possibility that the deployment could be extended for an additional year, according to court documents.

He also told his employers he had some military training from time to time that would also require he be away from his job and he would again be provided with the differential pay, according to court documents.

From May 2004 to August 2008, Burney collected $363,878 in pay based on those fraudulent claims.

As part of his sentence, Burney must also spend three years on supervised release. The other counts of the indictment were dismissed at sentencing, according to court documents.