COLONEL'S CAREER CRASHES IN RUINS - LOFTON
GETS SLAMMED WITH NINE YEARS IN PRISON AND
$14,000 IN FINES - KICKED OUT OF AIR FORCE
PART OF DEAL IS FORMER COMMANDER OF 82ND
TRAINING GROUP AT SHEPPARD AFB TEXAS MUST
REMAIN IN MILITARY UNTIL RELEASE, FORFEITING
SOME $9,000 A MONTH IN PAY AND ALLOWANCES
OFFICER ACQUITTED ON MORE SERIOUS "RAPE"
CHARGE WHICH WOULD HAVE GOT HIM LIFE IN DB
It was an ignominious end to what had been a charmed career. For 27 years, Col. Samuel Lofton III moved from one promotion and good assignment to the next. Now that Air Force career lies in ruins and the colonel is on his way to prison for at least nine years.
However, the 49 year-old full bird colonel at least avoided conviction on a specious "rape" charge, which would have placed a target square on his back and made his future at Leavenworth DB a constant struggle for survival, looking over his shoulder every moment to see where the "shank" would come from.
Now, he's just a former Air Force officer in good standing who's been convicted of a myriad of larceny and financial crimes that will cost him his pension, his position and pay ($9,000 a month), and $14,000 in fines.
The final tab at Lofton's sentencing Thursday at Sheppard AFB in Texas added up to convictions on assaulting a woman (indecent language), misusing his government travel card, submitting fraudulent travel documents to obtain "reimbursement," conduct unbecoming an officer, and being AWOL from duty on at least six occasions.
If the former commander of the 82nd Training Group had received the maximum punishment, he could have gone away for 140 years. That total is not based on the false "rape" rap, of which Lofton was acquitted, but for the 34 counts of other crimes the officer either pled guilty to or was found to have committed.
There was no immediate comment from either Lofton's attorneys or the prosecution team.