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Article 132 – Frauds Against the United States

Article 132 - Frauds Against the United States - was intended to criminalize the various ways that the Government can be defrauded. BAH fraud is most commonly alleged as an Article 132 offense.

The elements of the offense are:

Making a false or fraudulent claim

  • That the accused made a certain claim against the United States or an officer thereof;
  • That the claim was false or fraudulent in certain particulars;
  • That the accused then knew that the claim was false or fraudulent in these particulars. [1]

Presenting for approval or payment a false or fraudulent claim

  • That the accused presented for approval payment to a certain person in the civil or military service of the United States having authority to approve or pay it a certain claim against the United States or an officer thereof;
  • That the claim was false or fraudulent in certain particulars;
  • That the accused then knew that the claim was false or fraudulent in these particulars. [2]

Making or using a false writing or other paper in connection with claims

  • That the accused made or used a certain writing or other paper;
  • That certain material statements in the writing or other paper were false or fraudulent;
  • That the accused then knew the statements were false or fraudulent; and,
  • That the act of the accused was for the purpose of obtaining the approval, allowance, or payment of a certain claim or claims against the United States or an officer thereof.[3]

False oath in connection with claims

  • That the accused made an oath to a certain fact or to a certain writing or other paper;
  • That the oath was false in certain particulars;
  • That the accused then knew it was false; and,
  • That the act of the accused was for the purpose of obtaining the approval, allowance, or payment of a certain claim or claims against the United States or an officer thereof.[4]

Forgery of signature in connection with claims

  • That the accused forged or counterfeited the signature of a certain person on a certain writing or other paper; and
  • That the act of the accused was for the purpose of obtaining the approval, allowance, or payment of a certain claim or claims against the United States or an officer thereof.[5]

Using forged signature in connection with claims

  • That the accused used the forged or counterfeited signature of a certain person;
  • That the accused then knew that the signature was forged or counterfeited; and,
  • That the act of the accused was for the purpose of obtaining the approval, allowance, or payment of a certain claim or claims against the United States or an officer thereof.[6]

Delivering less that amount called for by receipt

  • That the accused had charge, possession, custody, or control of certain money or property of the United States furnished or intended for the armed forces thereof;
  • That the accused obtained a certificate or receipt for a certain amount or quantity of that money or property;
  • That for the certificate or receipt the accused knowingly delivered to a certain person having authority to receive it an amount or quantity of money or property less than the amount or quantity thereof specified in the certificate of receipt; and,
  • That the undelivered money or property was of a certain value.
  • That the act of the accused was for the purpose of obtaining the approval, allowance, or payment of a certain claim or claims against the United States or an officer thereof.[7]

Making or delivering receipt without having full knowledge that it is true

  • That the accused was authorized to make or deliver a paper certifying the receipt from a certain person of certain property of the United States furnished or intended for the armed forces thereof;
  • That the accused made or delivered to that person a certificate or receipt;
  • That the accused made or delivered the certificate without having full knowledge of the truth of a certain material statement or statements therein;
  • That the act was done with intent to defraud the United States; and
  • That the property certified as being received was of a certain value. [8]

Discussion

For the most part, Article 130 usually arises in the context of an allegedly false travel claim or other demand for payment. The term fraud means intentionally deceitful. As with many offenses, issues of intent are important to explore. Often military pay and allowances are governed by complicated regulations like the Joint Federal Travel Regulation, for instance. There can often be technical violations in which the client did not intend to be deceitful. Paperwork mistakes are likewise, not unusual. The mistake of fact is a useful defense in these cases.

Standard Instructions

DA Pamphlet 27-9

  • 3-58-1 - Making false claim[9]
  • 3-58-2 - Presenting false claim[10]
  • 3-58-3 - Making or using false writing in connection with a claim[11]
  • 3-58-4 - Making false oath in connection with a claim[12

§ 48:4 - Maximum Punishment

The maximum punishment for making or presenting a false claim is dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years. The maximum punishment for all others is bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months when the value is less than $500.00. When the value is greater than $500.00 the maximum punishment is a dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years.

Lesser Included Offenses

The lesser-included offense for all offenses is Article 80 – attempts.

References

  • [1] MCM, Pt. IV, ¶ 58a.
  • [2] MCM, Pt. IV, ¶ 58a.
  • [3] MCM, Pt. IV, ¶ 58a.
  • [4] MCM, Pt. IV, ¶ 58a.
  • [5] MCM, Pt. IV, ¶ 58a.
  • [6] MCM, Pt. IV, ¶ 58a.
  • [7] MCM, Pt. IV, ¶ 58a.
  • [8] MCM, Pt. IV, ¶ 58a.
  • [9] Military Judges Benchbook, ¶ 3-58-1 - Making a false claim.
  • [10] Military Judges Benchbook, ¶ 3-58-2 - Presenting false claim.
  • [11] Military Judges Benchbook, ¶ 3-58-3 - Making or using false writing in connection with a claim.
  • [12] Military Judges Benchbook, ¶ 3-58-4 - Making false oath in connection with a claim.

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