NORFOLK, Va. (Tribune News Service) — A 19-year Navy veteran and Bronze Star recipient pleaded guilty Monday to stealing the identities of two subordinates to secure fraudulent loans.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Clayton Pressley III, 41, of Chesapeake is set to be sentenced Jan. 12 in U.S. District Court in Norfolk. He faces up to 30 years in prison on one count of bank fraud, plus a mandatory two years for one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Pressley stole “identification documents” belonging to at least two sailors under his command. He subsequently applied for and received two loans totaling $14,000 in the name of one sailor and $10,000 in the name of the other. He used the proceeds for his own benefit, court documents said.
Pressley received his Bronze Star in January 2007, according to a copy of the citation. He received it “for exceptionally meritorious service during Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
“His outstanding dedication to duty during combat operations in Iraq contributed to the overwhelming success of the command’s mission,” the citation said.
In an interview in May, Pressley said that while the citation references his entire tour of duty in Iraq, he believed he received the medal for his efforts one day pulling some of his comrades from a Stryker vehicle that had been hit by a bomb. He said he did it while under fire.
Since October 2014, Pressley has been assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 6 at joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach.
Court documents say Pressley was tasked with supervising “numerous more junior military members.” They also said he served as a “Command Action Casualty Officer,” meaning he was the one who would contact a military member’s family in the event of a casualty.
Pressley remains out on a $10,000 unsecured bond while awaiting sentencing. He must wear a GPS-equipped ankle bracelet.
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