Larceny (OHA Fraud), Dereliction of Duty Charges | Case Results

Location: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Rank: E-6
Charges: Larceny (OHA fraud), Dereliction of Duty Result: Charges dropped
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Maximum Sentence:

  • DD
  • 10 years and 6 months in confinement
  • Total forfeiture
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Fine
  • Federal felony conviction
  • Loss of military retirement

A retirement-eligible Sailor was charged with using fraudulent lease documents from the Philippines to establish the idea that his family was living in significantly more expensive housing in Manila than they were actually living in.

With his retirement on the line and potentially facing a court-martial, the Sailor turned to Mr. Bilecki to defend him. Our initial investigation revealed that the OHA (Overseas Housing Allowance) discrepancies were discovered by an NCIS audit of service members claiming OHA in the Philippines; however, our client was not provided any documentation of the investigation (charges had not yet been preferred).

 

We used our extensive contacts in the Philippines to obtain a full copy of the law enforcement investigation in this case and then launched our own independent investigation into the allegations.

Having done numerous criminal investigations in the Philippines, we were familiar with the culture, the typical manner in which fraudulent documents are procured, and the manner in which NCIS-Philippines investigates these types of cases.

Based on our investigation, we knew that these charges would be nearly impossible for the government to prove without obtaining visas for a significant number of Filipino witnesses to testify in the States, which is a nearly impossible task. We also knew that the government’s only other option would be to attempt to take depositions of the Filipino witnesses at the US Embassy in Manila.

Having previously gone down that road on other cases, we knew just how difficult of a task that would be for the government. We leveraged the information we learned from our independent investigation and educated the prosecutors on how difficult this case would be to prove at trial.

The prosecution relented to our position, and no court-martial charges were preferred against our client.

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