Retired colonel pleads guilty to fraud

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James Burnes, A retired National Guard colonel, has pleaded guilty to fraud and theft charges after embezzling more than $2 million from a charitable fund. By Jennifer Thomas James Burnes, A retired National Guard colonel, has pleaded guilty to fraud and theft charges after embezzling more than $2 million from a charitable fund. By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A retired National Guard colonel has pleaded guilty to fraud and theft charges after embezzling more than $2 million from a charitable fund.

James Eugene Burnes, 66, entered the plea Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Burnes was the resource manager for the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

Prosecutors said that between 2007 and 2011 he diverted money from funds that were intended to provide emergency assistance to Arizona National Guard members and their families.

Prosecutors said Burnes took the money to support a gambling habit.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 28.