An Army captain who used the identities of fellow soldiers and recruits to charge up $47,000 in credit card debt was sentenced yesterday to a year and a day in prison, after claiming that debt and depression drove him to crime.
Michael F. Kimble Sr., 34, of Woodbridge commanded several Army recruiting stations, including one on Columbia Pike in Arlington. In October, he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to one count of identity theft.
Prosecutors asked Chief U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton to increase Kimble's possible sentence because he held a position of trust. Hilton agreed to the request, meaning Kimble faced 12 to 18 months in prison. The judge then sentenced Kimble to the low end of the range. Kimble would have faced 10 to 16 months without the enhancement and would have been eligible for home confinement and work release.
Kimble said he regretted his actions, and he has repaid the money with interest and penalties, his attorney William B. Moffitt said. Kimble then turned to the back of the courtroom and faced one of his victims, Sgt. 1st Class Rodney E. Sloan, and said, "I apologize to you and those who were affected by my actions."
Then, Kimble looked at his wife and said, "I have failed as a husband and as a father."
Kimble remains on administrative leave from the Army, and Moffitt said Kimble was fighting a dishonorable discharge because it would deprive him and his family of medical benefits.
Kimble acknowledged in October that he used the birth dates and Social Security numbers of other soldiers and recruits at the Columbia Pike station to open new credit cards. He provided a mailing address of a Parcel Plus postal box in Dale City to receive the bills.
Kimble opened six credit cards in Sloan's name, transferring $13,000 of debt onto one card and charging nearly $33,000 worth of purchases on the others. He charged small amounts on the cards of three other people whose identities he had stolen and was rejected by suspicious card issuers at least twice. The scheme lasted from August 2001 to February 2002.
Moffitt said that Kimble was "overwhelmed by a major depressive disorder," and provided Hilton with a sheaf of letters from military supervisors attesting to Kimble's fine performance during 11 years in the Army. "People find themselves in a set of circumstances which they can't control," Moffitt said, "and they make bad decisions."
Moffitt argued that Kimble wasn't in a position of trust because others in the recruiting office also had access to recruits' personal information. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Elston called that logic "ludicrous." Elston also noted that when a recruit first complained about someone in the office using his personal identifiers, Kimble said he'd look into it but did not.
"It was not depression that caused this defendant to commit this crime," Elston said. "It was greed."
Kimble told the judge: "I was wrong and recognize that I must be punished. In the military, it's very difficult, and sometimes career-ending, to admit you have problems."
Prosecutors said those whose identities were stolen did not lose any money and would not have been responsible for the debt. But their credit histories, unless expunged, would show credit cards they never applied for and debts they never incurred.