UCMJ Article 132: Frauds Against the United States

Article 132 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice makes it a criminal offense for a U.S. service member to defraud the United States of its property. Making and presenting false claims, falsifying documents and/or forging signatures related to a claim, holding back U.S. property or failing to make sure all U.S. property is accounted for upon making a transaction are all considered offenses under Article 132 of the UCMJ.

A conviction under Article 132 will almost certainly guarantee:

  • You will go to jail. The U.S. government takes fraud very seriously and prosecutors will push for a sentence that includes confinement.
  • You will be stripped of your rank and position and tossed out of the military with a punitive discharge.
  • You will lose your G.I. benefits, including your healthcare and your retirement.

The government believes you’ve defrauded them and they will spare no expense to see you behind bars. Do not risk a conviction. Fight back with Bilecki & Tipon—the premier defense team operating in the U.S. and the Pacific today.

What Is Article 132 of the UCMJ?

United States FlagEvery article of the UCMJ requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a handful of critical assumptions—known as elements—to convict you of a crime. Eight offenses are listed under Article 132, each with its own set of elements.

(1) Making a false or fraudulent claim

(a) That the accused made a certain claim against the United States or an officer thereof;

(b) That the claim was false or fraudulent in certain particulars; and

(c) That the accused then knew that the claim was false or fraudulent in these particulars.

(2) Presenting for approval or payment a false or fraudulent claim

(a) That the accused presented for approval or 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;

(b) That the claim was false or fraudulent in certain particulars; and

(c) That the accused then knew that the claim was false or fraudulent in these particulars.

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

(a) That the accused made or used a certain writing or other paper;

(b) That certain material statements in the writing or other paper were false or fraudulent;

(c) That the accused then knew the statements were false or fraudulent; and

(d) 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) False oath in connection with claims

(a) That the accused made an oath to a certain fact or to a certain writing or other paper;

(b) That the oath was false in certain particulars;

(c) That the accused then knew it was false; and

(d) That the act 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) Forgery of signature in connection with claims

(a) That the accused forged or counterfeited the signature of a certain person on a certain writing or other paper; and

(b) That the act was for the purpose of obtaining the approval, allowance, or payment of a certain claim against the United States or an officer thereof.

(6) Using forged signature in connection with claims

(a) That the accused used the forged or counterfeited signature of a certain person;

(b) That the accused then knew that the signature was forged or counterfeited; and

(c) That the act was for the purpose of obtaining the approval, allowance, or payment of a certain claim against the United States or an officer thereof.

(7) Delivering less than the amount called for by receipt

(a) 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;

(b) That the accused obtained a certificate or receipt for a certain amount of quantity of that money or property;

(c) 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 or receipt; and

(d) That the undelivered money or property was of a certain value.

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

(a) 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;

(b) That the accused made or delivered to that person a certificate or receipt;

(c) That the accused made or delivered the certificate without having full knowledge of the truth of a certain material statement or statements therein;

(d) That the act was done with intent to defraud the United States; and

(e) That the property certified as being received was of a certain value.

Summary of the Elements of Article 132: Eight criminal offenses related to fraud are listed under Article 132. The elements of each offense, while different, share certain commonalities. Prosecutors must prove that a) the property defrauded was United States property, and b) the service member was aware of the fraud OR should have done his or her due diligence to ensure the government was not defrauded.

Court Martial Lawyer for Article 132 of the UCMJ: Strategies and Tactics

Half a dozen criminal offenses are described under Article 132 of the UCMJ, and a service member may be accused of more than one offense during his or her court-martial. It’s very important that the accused and his or her defense team are well aware of the government charges and their theory of criminal liability before proceeding with a strategy.

To prepare your case, we’ll perform a full investigation into the events that occurred both during and leading up to the alleged fraud. We may base our defense strategy around one or all of the following:

  • Paper trail and forensic evidence. Does the paper trail tell the whole story of the crime? Are there any gaps in the prosecution’s narrative that the defense can exploit? Were the original claim documents confusing in some fashion? Were any typos or other clerical mistakes made that led the service member to believe the claim was not fraudulent?
  • Prior knowledge of the accused. Was the accused aware of the fraudulent claim? Was he acting in good faith on the orders of someone else by presenting the claim or using fraudulent papers, without any knowledge that they were fraudulent? Did the accused believe at the time that the oath he swore was the truth?
  • Proper investigation by law enforcement. Did law enforcement properly handle the paper trail and other physical evidence in your case? Was all evidence logged properly? Were all searches and seizures of property—including computers and other objects which may hold forensic data—properly authorized and done with a legal subpoena or warrant?

Do not let accusations of a fraudulent claim destroy your military career and future. Contact Bilecki & Tipon today for a free consultation into your case.

Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 132 Charges

Bilecki & Tipon has defending service members from charges of fraudulent claims. Our experienced legal team has fought and won cases involving forged signatures, false papers, and other damning evidence which almost certainly would have sunk most other defense teams.

Bilecki & Tipon will help you fight back against charges under Article 132: Frauds Against the United States

Frequently Asked Questions About Article 132

What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 132: Frauds Against the United States?

Article 132 lists half a dozen criminal offenses, and maximum punishment may differ depending on the offense in question. For instance:

For charges related to making a false or fraudulent claim, presenting for approval or payment a false or fraudulent claim, making or using false documents, forging or counterfeiting signatures or making false oaths:

  • Reduction to E-1
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 5 years
  • Dishonorable discharge

For charges related to delivering less than the amount called for by receipt or neglecting to ensure a proper amount of supplies has been furnished in accordance with payment:

Less than $500:

  • Reduction to E-1
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 6 months
  • Bad-conduct discharge

More than $500:

  • Reduction to E-1
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Confinement for 5 years
  • Dishonorable discharge

What Our Clients Are Saying About Us

  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC His knowledge and experience were evident during the Article 32 where he seemed to sort of take control of the court room.
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  • Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC Mr. Bilecki and his associates are amazingly qualified and skilled in handling UCMJ cases.
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