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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | COUNTYWIDE

Major Not Guilty of Fraud, Panel Finds

March 14, 1998|HILARY E. MacGREGOR

After a four-day trial at the Port Hueneme naval base, an Air National Guard officer accused of defrauding the federal government was found not guilty of all charges, his lawyer said Friday.

Maj. Glenn Yurgil, 39, faced eight charges including conspiracy to defraud the government; soliciting an individual to submit a false application for a job order; and conduct unbecoming an officer, such as using racial epithets, said Yurgil's attorney, David Follin.

Yurgil and civilian employee Robert Sheehan were arrested last spring and charged with conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States. The arrest followed months of investigation by the FBI, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Air National Guard.

Follin said the five-officer military jury found Yurgil not guilty on all charges Thursday, after a trial that lasted from Sunday through Wednesday.

"He was wrongfully charged and justice prevailed with a verdict of not guilty," said Follin.

Brig. Gen. John Iffland, commander of the Channel Islands Air National Guard base, could not be reached for comment Friday.

The related case against Sheehan was to be handled by the Ventura County district attorney, but Follin said that case has not been resolved.

If he had been found guilty, Yurgil could have faced penalties ranging from fines to prison, as well as a less than honorable discharge.

But with the case behind him, "Maj. Yurgil will continue his career with the California Air National Guard," said Follin in a statement Friday.

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