Former Naval Officer Jailed for Fraud That Fed Poker Habit

US Navy ships

30-second summary

  • Former naval procurement officer pled guilty to two felonies
  • Stole more than $2.7m over seven years
  • Fraud involved three phony supply companies
  • Thefts paid for poker addiction
  • Sentenced to 50 months in prison

A former United States Navy procurement officer, Randolph M. Prince, has been sentenced to 50 months in prison after pleading guilty to two felony charges.

The charges relate to a long-running procurement fraud scheme in which Prince defrauded the Navy of more than $2.7m over seven years to feed his “high stakes poker” lifestyle.

Prince, popularly known as “Kaz”, played a primary role in the fraud that bilked the Navy to fund his gambling habit. He also bought “flashy cars” and a second property with proceeds from the ongoing crime, which stretched from 2012 to 2018.

The 45-year-old’s 27-year military career crashed when he and his two partners in the procurement-fraud scheme were arrested and charged in July 2018.

The charges focused on several fraudulent transactions orchestrated by the three men through three phony supply companies for the Navy’s supposed purchase of “inert training aids”, dummy bombs. However, these dummy bombs didn’t exist.

Prince created false invoices and also signed phony delivery bills, but no training aids ever went the Navy’s way. The proceeds of the phony orders, typically in the low-to-mid six figures, were split to varying degrees among Prince, the two others charged in the case, and several other associates and workers.

Three plea deals in scheme

Joining Prince on the wrong side of the judge’s gavel were Clayton Pressley III, a former naval petty-supply officer who, like Prince, had responsibilities involving the procurement of naval supplies, and Courtney Cloman, a Navy flight officer.

All three pled guilty in August 2018. Pressley, who Prince claimed was the true mastermind of the scheme, was sentenced to two years in prison, while Cloman’s sentencing hearing is set for February 7.

Pressley, however, netted some $644,000 from the scheme, which was dwarfed by the $2.71 million total attributed to Prince. That difference and Prince’s central role in falsifying official Navy documentation earned him the stiffest sentence.

The charges to which Prince pled guilty, wire fraud and filing a false tax return, centered on several bogus training-aid orders the group created in 2014. Prince, who signed off on all the bogus transactions in multiple ways, was also ordered to pay back the $2.71m he stole, with a property forfeiture included in the plea deal.

Gambling addiction blamed

The Virginian-Pilot, in reporting on the sentencing, noted that Pressley’s addiction to high-stakes poker action accounted for much of the money stolen through the scheme. Neither the initial criminal complaint nor a later statement of facts in the case detail the nature of Prince’s poker addiction.

Prince has no recorded tournament poker cashes, though he might have been a high-stakes cash game player, and it’s also possible that he was addicted to video poker, which is closer to slots than true poker action.

Nonetheless, the sentencing memorandum, obtained by VSO, notes a special condition agreed to by prosecutors and Prince’s defense. Prince will receive treatment while incarcerated “to modify his gambling addiction”, affirming that a significant portion of the stolen supply funds went to support Prince’s gambling habit.

Prince’s defense attorney, Shawn Cline, wrote to the Virginian-Pilot about the case: “When his time in service is remembered, it won’t be for the fact that he rose from the lowest enlisted ranks to the grade of Lieutenant, or that he served in a dangerous war zone in direct combat when his nation needed him most. It will be the events of this sentencing hearing that are his legacy.

“Rather than being something with which he can look back on with pride, he will spend the rest of his life hoping that the people with whom he interacts are not aware of the time he spent serving in the Navy.”