As a civilian attorney practicing as a military lawyer in courts-martial, I defend service members in all branches — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard — who are accused of BAH fraud and other financial crimes in the military, and facing legal actions such as court-martial, Article 32 investigation, Article 15 nonjudicial punishment (also known as NJP, captain’s mast, or office hours), and administrative separations. My law office is centrally located in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area, which allows easy access to every military base in CONUS, as well as around the globe.
If you are facing charges for any kind of financial fraud, you can be certain that the government will prosecute that case aggressively. Your military defense attorney needs the skill and experience to meet those allegations head-on. I have extensive experience in defending theft and fraud cases, and will approach your case methodically and with an eye toward protecting your family’s finances, in addition to your liberty.
The military is seeing a sharp increase in the number of BAH (basic allowance for housing) and OHA (overseas housing allowance) fraud cases. The amounts at issue might be only a few hundred dollars, or they could be in the hundreds of thousands. The government is addressing this issue with a surge in investigations and prosecutions, often involving proactive operations to try and ferret out servicemembers who they think are committing financial fraud. Military members are seeing increased auditing of their allowances, comparing their LES (leave and earnings statements) against other documents and information they have, whether that information is reliable and trustworthy or not. Members living in high-cost locations are particularly at risk for an audit. Discrepancies are reported to the member’s command for disciplinary action and to DFAS for recoupment.
How do these cases arise? I have noted some common themes that prosecutors allege in many BAH and financial fraud cases, such as:
false rental agreements
divorces not reported to DFAS or the local finance office
incorrect numbers of dependents
incorrect home of record information
false claims of dependents
false requests for reimbursement
false travel claims
BAH Fraud Audit Process
During an audit, investigators will gain access to all the member’s military and civilian financial documents (through subpoena, when necessary), and will certainly scrub everything the member submitted to DFAS or the base finance office. They can and will obtain cell phone records, lease and rental agreements, bank statements, PCS and moving documents, birth certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees, and anything else they think is relevant to your case. And it makes no difference if the member made an honest mistake or is actually completely innocent; the government investigators will stop at nothing to prove an intent to steal government money.
As a military member, you know how complicated the financial regulations can be, particularly for those stationed in overseas locales. Even the personnel in the finance office require training and updates to navigate the regulations, yet every military member is expected to know them and face punishment for stepping over the line. Honest mistakes are common, but unfortunately so is intentional fraud. Whichever is the case in your situation, you have the right to a vigorous, detail-oriented defense to protect yourself, your family, and your career. My experience and trial skill as a military defense attorney means we can push back, and hard.
So invoke your 31(b) rights, and don’t make any statement! But whether you make a statement or not, contact me as soon as possible for a free consultation if you are being investigated or have been charged with BAH fraud, or any other type of military offense.