Is Identity Theft a Court Martial Offense?

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Military members have been charged and convicted of identity theft through court martial proceedings. Though it may not fit into the traditional idea of what theft is and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) does not have an article specifically for identity theft, federal statute can be used or a general article under the UCMJ can create a charge of identity theft, so it is still a criminal offense in the military.

One example is an Air Force staff sergeant from Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico who was found guilty of identity theft and wrongful appropriation during a court martial in 2012. She received a fifty month prison sentence, had her rank reduced to airman basic and a dishonorable discharge.

She was found to have used her Air Force position to steal personally identifiable information from six people then used the information to open bogus credit accounts and engage in other fraudulent activity. Military members can be especially vulnerable to identity theft because of the widespread use of their Social Security numbers and frequent need to disclose it.

Another serviceman convicted of identity theft is Senior Airman Brandon Harris who was convicted of shoplifting, government travel card abuse and identity theft at his court martial at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. He plead guilty to all the charges including the theft of another airman’s identity.

He testified he mistakenly received a pre-approved credit card offer for another airman and he used it to open an account in the other airman’s name. Harris requested the credit card company list him as an authorized user and send the credit cards and statements to his own address. Harris eventually got two credit cards as a result, making about $1,500 in unauthorized purchases.

Airman Harris was sentenced to a bad conduct discharge, six months confinement, two-thirds forfeiture of pay per month for six months and a reduction to airman basic.

If you or a loved one have been charged with identity theft and are facing a court martial, the court martial defense attorneys at Aviso Law in can help. Call (719)247-3111 to schedule a free consultation.

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