Rear Admiral Tim Giardina, once a three-star vice admiral who was second in charge at the United States Strategic Command, the military branch that oversees the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal, has been found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer. In September, Giardina was caught using counterfeit gambling chips while playing poker at the Caesars-owned Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The US Navy made the announcement after Admiral Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command demoted Giardina to a two-star Rear Admiral. Giardina accepted the non-judicial punishment after being found guilty of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
In its statement, the Navy said that Giardina violated two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer by lying to investigators and failing to turn in those counterfeit chips, which he used after claiming to have found them inside the Horseshoe casino. In addition to a drop in rank, Giardina received a letter of reprimand from the Navy while also forfeiting $4,000.
On the flip side, his acceptance of the non-judicial punishment meant that he spared himself the trouble and the embarrassment of a court martial. He could have been dishonorably discharged from the Navy, which would have meant losing all his stars and all the associated benefits. He also avoided going to jail, since the use of counterfeit chips in Iowa constitutes a Class D felony.