Army Officer Pleads Guilty for Laundering Money to Pay for Plastic Surgery

A federal court in San Antonio has found that Theresa Russell, 40, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant is guilty of laundering approximately $30,000 in cash from a former major in the U.S. Army Reserves, and that she used some of the proceeds to pay for plastic surgery.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Russell was deployed to Balad, Iraq as a Logistical Support Area Anaconda from January to October 2004. Shortly after her term began, Russell admitted to receiving more than $30,000 in cash from John Rivard, a former major in the U.S. Army Reserves, knowing full well that the proceeds were part of a bribe.

Russell used the $30,000 to pay for plastic surgery, a new car, and home furnishings. She also put the money into several different bank accounts to avoid detection by law enforcement.

Russell now faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the maximum penalty for the money laundering charge. Theresa Russell will also be receiving three years of supervised release after her prison term is complete, and is scheduled for sentencing on May 21, 2010.

John Rivard pleaded guilty to bribery and other offenses in 2007, according to, for “his role in a conspiracy that directed federally-funded contracts to a contractor’s company in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.”

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Daniel A. Petalas and Justin V. Shur of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, as well as Trial Attorney Ann C. Brickley. This case is being investigated by Army Criminal Investigation Command; Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the FBI; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Further Reading