Guard trooper who stole $200,000 arrested after filing wage investigation, feds say

A member of the Michigan National Guard made his first appearance in federal court late last month after authorities said he had quietly been paid his full salary and allowances for more than two years after resigning from custody status at full-time and returned to part-time service.

Staff Sgt. Clayton H. Mitsui Jr. remains a member of the Michigan Guard pending trial for theft of public funds, state spokeswoman Penny Carroll confirmed. A federal public defender representing the soldier declined to comment when contacted by Army Times.

The alleged theft was uncovered when Mitsui submitted an investigation into a missing part-time paycheck, according to publicly available court records.

The $205,435.48 Mitsui allegedly stole was used for “child support, bills and credit card debt,” according to a request for an arrest warrant by Agent Joseph Kajer of the Army’s Criminal Investigations Division.

The NCO resigned from the Hawaii National Guard’s Active Guard Reserve program in June 2017, according to the warrant application.

But even after Mitsui became a weekend warrior, he continued to receive his old active duty pay and allowances in addition to his monthly drill salary, Kajer said. The CID agent attributed the error to Mitsui not completing the administrative requirements upon leaving the AGR program and the Hawaii Guard not telling the Defense Finance and Accounting Department to stop his pay.

Mitsui then moved to Michigan and was transferred to the National Guard there in February 2019.

Four months later, in June, the noncommissioned officer reported that he had not received his monthly paychecks since his transfer, according to Kajer.

“Coordinating with the [Michigan Army National Guard] disclosed that Mitsui was not receiving drill pay because he was receiving pay and active duty rights,” the CID agent said in the mandate request.

Michigan officials quickly realized Mitsui was receiving active duty pay and submitted documents to DFAS to arrest him in November 2019, Kajer said. They reported the find to CID.

Kajer interviewed Mitsui by phone in April 2020, and the NCO reportedly admitted to taking the money and spending it.

“I knew I was doing something wrong,” Mitsui reportedly told the investigator, adding that he hid the fact that he was receiving active duty pay from his superiors. “I got caught when I came to Michigan…If I could turn back time and change it, I would.”

A federal judge ordered Mitsui released pending trial on an unsecured bond of $10,000.

Under federal law, stealing public funds over $1,000 is punishable by up to ten years in federal prison. If found guilty, offenders often have to repay the funds they stole.

In a similar case that ended earlier this month, a disgraced Air Force officer who received more than $800,000 in pay after being fired from the service for misconduct was sentenced to five years in prison. . This airman, former Major Brandon Bailey, also defrauded the Social Security Administration.

Prosecutors initially did not seek jail time for Bailey, who must also pay $1.5 million in restitution and give up most of his assets, but he breached the terms of his bail pending sentencing.

Mitsui’s next court appearance will be on April 19.

Davis Winkie is a staff reporter covering the military. He originally joined Military Times as a reporting intern in 2020. Prior to journalism, Davis worked as a military historian. He is also a human resources officer in the Army National Guard.

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