US Admiral Timothy Giardina Demoted for Using Counterfeit Chips5 years ago
Admiral Timothy Giardina, who was second in command of the US nuclear force, was removed from his job in the the US Army in Omaha, Nebraska last year. Reasons for this decision were charges brought against stating he was making fake $500 poker chips and using them in several casinos. The army investigation found him guilty in May of this year.
To make these fake chips, the Admiral was using original $1 chips, some paint and stickers. In an attempt to defend himself he tried to claim that he had found the chips, but the investigators discovered his DNA under the stickers.
Prior to the accusations, it hasn’t been known how much time Giardina spent gambling, but during the investigation the uncovered records demonstrated him being in the poker rooms about 15 hours a week. In fact he spent enough time in the casinos that he has came to be known as ‘Navy Tim’.
The military laboratory tested the fake chips and came to a conclusion that the process Giardina used to produce the counterfeits consisted of copying the center piece of an original $500 chip and sticking the copy to the center of a real $1 chip. After that, the Admiral would paint the chips trying to make them visually as similar as possible to the genuine $500 chips.
Giardina had access to sensitive information and although legal gambling is not prohibited for Strategic Command officers holding security clearance, there are certain rules they have to adhere to. For example, if they were to incur excessive debt, they would be under an obligation to report it.
Giardina’s case is just one in the sea of problems that have been present in the US nuclear forces recently. In a separate incident from 2013, Major General Michael Carey was fired for ‘personal misbehavior’. Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense, prompted by these issues announced comprehensive changes that will be introduced in the nuclear force management. Despite the fact these changes will cost around $10 billion, it was deemed necessary.
Admiral Giardina was found guilty of ‘conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman’ demoted to a two-stars rank and was assigned a desk job in Washington. The military decided not to pursue martial court as they were uncertain if there was enough evidence to get a conviction. He was also fined by $4,000 deduction from his pay and given a written reprimand.
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