What Possible Penalties Are There for Fraudulent Enlistment?

female soldier saluting American flag

Defending against fraudulent enlistment charges.

Military service is an important step in many people's lives. It can provide a sense of belonging and connection to a larger community, as well as training and opportunities for personal growth. But, just to get some short-term gain that they may normally be unqualified for, some people take a shortcut - they conceal some required information, exaggerate, or outright lie. These are known as "fraudulent enlistments." 

Fraudulent enlistments happen when someone joins the military with the intent to commit a crime or deceive the military in some way. This could include lying about qualifications, age, or criminal history. Fraudulent enlistments are against the Uniform Code of Military Justice and can result in penalties which is why it is critical to work with a military defense lawyer should you be facing such charges.

Generally, these penalties can include a range of fines, imprisonment, and/or dishonorable discharge from the military. Some of the more specific penalties that may be applicable in a particular case depend on such factors as the nature and severity of the false statement, whether the individual successfully enlisted/got promoted/got a discharge under false pretenses, and whether any harm was caused as a result. 

Learn the Elements of Article 83 Before Enrolling in Anything

Military members who are looking to enroll in a new program or who are considering separation from the military should be aware of article 83 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). This article covers fraudulent enlistment, appointment, or separation. The punishment for those found guilty of this offense can range from a dishonorable discharge to imprisonment.

There are several key elements to Article 83 that individuals should be aware of before making any decisions about their military service. First, it is important to understand what constitutes fraudulent enlistment, appointment, or separation. Fraudulent conduct can include lying about qualifications or providing false information in order to obtain entry into the military or advancement within the ranks. It can also involve concealing criminal history or other information that could impact eligibility for service.

Another element of Article 83 pertains to the consequences of committing fraud.

Can Article 83 Be Defended Against?

There are a few defenses available to those who have been accused of fraudulent enlistment, appointment, or separation. 

The first is a mistake of fact. This defense argues that the accused did not intentionally misrepresent themselves to the military, but instead made an honest mistake about their qualifications or eligibility. 

The second defense is consent. This defense argues that the accused did not deliberately misrepresent themselves, but instead willingly agreed to enlist in the military at a time of dire need out of a willingness to serve their country. 

A third defense is a justifiable reliance on false information. This defense argues that the accused relied on false information from someone other than themselves and were not at fault for not verifying such information. 

Yet another defense is duress. This defense argues that the accused was forced into joining the military against their will and did not have a choice in the matter. 

The fifth defense is lack of mental capacity. This defense argues that the accused lacked the mental capacity to understand what they were doing when they joined the military. 

Finally, the sixth defense is the statute of limitations.

Speak to a Military Defense Attorney

Military enlistment fraud can result in a variety of penalties, depending on the severity of the offense and the particular military branch involved. In the most serious cases, a service member could be dishonorably discharged from the military, which would mean losing all benefits and privileges associated with military service. A less severe penalty might be a reduction in rank, or being required to forfeit pay or receive a jail sentence.

As such, if you are accused of military enlistment fraud, it is important to speak with a military defense attorney at Griffin Law Defense who can help protect your rights and defend you against the charges.

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