ARTICLE 132- FRAUDS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES
Article 132 of the UCMJ deals with frauds committed against the United States. An service member is charged with violating the provisions under Article 132 if the following 4 elements of the alleged crime occur:
1. Knowing that it is fraudulent or false
- He goes and files a claim against the United States or an officer of the United States or
- Presents a claim for payment or approval, to any member of the military or civil service, against the United States or an officer.
2. With the intention of obtaining a payment, approval or allowance, he files a claim against the United States or an officer of the United States and
- Uses or makes a writing or presents another paper which contains fraudulent or false statements.
- Makes an oath about any fact or writing, when he knows that the oath is false or
- Counterfeits or forges a signature on any writing or paper and uses such a paper, fully aware that the signature is counterfeit or forged.
3. Having charge, custody, control or possession of any property or money which belongs to the United States which is intended or furnished for the use of the armed forces, he delivers to a person authorized to receive it, an amount which is less than the amount he has received a receipt for.
4. Having authorization to deliver or make a paper which certifies the receipt of property belonging to the United States, which is intended or furnished for the use of the armed forces, he delivers or writes such a document without confirming the full truth of the statements in the paper and with the intention of defrauding the United States.
EXPLANATIONS FOR ELEMENTS UNDER ARTICLE 132
A 'claim' can be said to be a demand for ownership or transfer of property or money. Requisitions for property do not constitute claims. The provisions of this article apply to claims only against the United States or an officer working in that capacity and not against a United States officer in his private capacity.
Note that there is a difference between making claims and presenting them. Just because a service member has written a claim on paper, it does not make it a demand, unless there has been an act that caused the paper to become a demand. However, if the paper has entered an official channel, it become a claim, even if the service member has not presented the claim. Whether the claim was paid or allowed, or was made by the service member, who has or would have benefited by the payment or allowance is immaterial.
The service member must have made the claim will full knowledge of its dishonest or fictitious character. However groundless a claim is, if the maker believes it to have validity, or claims made in negligence or without prudence, are not forbidden under this article.
COUNTERFEITING OR FORGERY OF A SIGNATURE
If a service member fraudulently signs another person's signature, whether or not he has attempted to imitate the other person's handwriting is not important. It is still counterfeiting or forgery.
MAXIMUM PUNISHMENTS UNDER ARTICLE 132
The maximum punishment that can be handed down to a service personnel for violation of the provisions of Article 32 are.
- For violation of sub section 1 & 2
The service member can be punished with a dishonorable discharge; forfeit of all his allowances and pay and 5 years of confinement.
- For violation of sub section 3 & 4
If the accused has committed fraud for an amount of $500 or less, he can be punished with a bad conduct discharge, forfeit of his allowances and pay and 6 months of confinement.
If the amount is more than $500, the accused can be punished with a dishonorable discharge, forfeit of his allowances and pay and 5 years of confinement. For more information on this article, please refer to the Manual for Courts Martial.
Mr. Jordan has successfully defended service members against this crime at Fairchild AFB and Edwards AFB. These types of cases can be labor intensive, as counsel may have to review thousands of records in order to figure out what really happened.