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Seabee enlisted leader fired for alleged travel fraud

Editor's note: This story was originally posted on April 21 at 7:55 p.m. EDT and has been updated.

Alleged travel fraud has cost another Navy senior enlisted leader his job.

Command Master Chief (SCW/SW) Moses Sampson, the top enlisted senior enlisted advisor at the Naval Construction Training Center in Gulfport, Miss. was relieved Thursday by his commanding officer, Cmdr. Heather Walton, amid allegations of fradulent travel claims. because of "a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to effectively lead," according to Joy Samsel, spokesperson for the Navy Education and Training Command. 

The alleged fraud stems from an investigation done by Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 11, Sampson’s previous command, where he was the CMC from September 2012 to August 2015. He reported to the training center in September, 2015 according to personnel records. releasable information provided by the Navy Personnel Command.

"That investigation uncovered several suspected intentionally fraudulent travel claims," said a Navy source who asked for anonymity to discuss the familiar with the investigation, but not authorized to speak openly about it. "The relief came after NMCB-11 forwarded their investigation to Walton, who directed a follow-on investigation, which subsequently confirmed some of the initial allegations."

The source said that Sampson faces possible non-judicial punishment for the alleged fraud, the source added. If he’s found guilty, it could end his nearly 27-year career.  

In an email statement Friday, Sampson called the Navy's allegations "baseless" and said the service ignored his attempts to repay the government.

Command Master Chief Moses Sampon

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

Sampson has been temporarily re-assigned to a department within Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport pending the adjudication of his case.

Master Chief Constructionman (SCW) Edgar Walker has temporarily taken over CMC duties at the training center until a new CMC is designated.

Joining the Navy in 1988, Sampson attended boot camp in Orlando, Fla. and went through attended his Seabee training at the same Gulfport, Miss. training center where he served as the top enlisted sailor at until today

In over 26 years, He has served eleven tours of duty at various Seabee units, the last two as the command master chief. Sampson did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursdayas of press time

Sampson is the second senior enlisted sailor dismissed from his post received over travel claim problems in the past year. 

On April 16th, 2015 Last year Fleet Master Chief (SW/AW) Marco Ramirez was fired the Pacific Fleet boss for allegedly violating travel and leave policies and misusing his staff, becoming one of the highest ranking enlisted leaders fired in Navy history. by then Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Harry Harris for "intentionally violated travel/leave regulations and consistently misused his staff," Harris said in an email to Navy leaders after the relief.

A subsequent Inspector General report obtained the Navy Times under the Freedom of Information Act found that Ramirez’s fraud cost the service well over $5,000 in excess airfare fees over two years, so he could accrue frequent flyer miles. 

He was also found guilty of misusing his staff by ordering them to chauffeur him to personal appointments and errands and failed to report up to 16 days of leave, according to a Pacific Fleet command investigation, also obtained by Navy Times via the Freedom of Information Act.

Ramirez was not taken to nonjudicial punishment or court-martial, but allowed to quietly retire and retain his status as a fleet master chief.

He was, however, charged for 10 additional days of leave and some funds were recouped from Ramirez, according to the investigation.

Last July, Pacific Fleet declined to release the amount that Ramirez was forced to repay to the Navy or say why he was never disciplined. for violating travel rules, citing privacy rules, nor would they comment why he wasn’t disciplined, either.      

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