The military depends on the honesty and integrity of its’ servicemembers, and as it has been written on this site, it is expected. “I tried to correct my fraud, so I’m innocent of it.” This was essentially the claim of William Morronne, Jr. thanks to his attorneys, and what follows is a troubling story for several reasons. Apparently, the guy was originally in the Army over 20 years ago as HIMSELF, but got kicked out dishonorably. Deciding that he should be in the Army regardless of being dishonorably discharged, he took the birth certificate and credentials of his brother and used them in order to enlist in the Army under his brother’s name. And there he stayed, for 25 years, jumping out of airplanes, getting paid, getting married, buying cars, getting hurt, etc. I can’t tell from the story what it was that ended up getting this guy caught. Was it the IRS letters sent to the brother’s name asking him why he didn’t declare the income on his taxes, or was it triggered by him perhaps filing for disability pay for the bad back and PTSD he claims he got as a result of serving (that would be made payable to, who, his brother)? One has to wonder if the PTSD is real, since so much else wasn’t?
This is a wild story, for sure. I mean, I don’t think I’d take kindly to learning that someone took my identity and decided to profit financially from it by getting money from the Federal government that technically didn’t belong to either of us. The REAL Gerald (that is William’s fake identity of his real brother) had his name and social security number used by his brother in order to get what he felt was being withheld from him from the service, I guess. William apparently did this (false statements and fraud) because he couldn’t get back into the Army by any other means. I’m not sure where this comes from, that gross sense of entitlement that seems to be making it to the headlines more and more (check out yesterday’s Washington Post front pager on the epidemic of “military brass, behaving badly” and generally thinking that they are above the rules and laws. I guess some people need to be burned before they realize that hot stoves shouldn’t be touched.
William’s attorneys are an interesting bunch. They asserted that their client was not guilty, because he TRIED to correct the situation but that the Army wouldn’t let him. Wait! Did they really try to use a defense of “I told the Army that I joined fraudulently using my brother’s name, and asked them to correct my fraud, but since they didn’t do it like I asked them, I shouldn’t be held accountable?” Huh? That was MY sentence written, not a quote from any story, but here is one that was written: ” Morrone’s lawyers contended that he tried several times through his career to get his identification corrected, but the Army never followed through.” Never followed through? THAT is the problem. That an attorney would try to deflect the blame for the actions of their client onto another party, is appaling. William valiantly tried to have the Army change his credentials over to his real ones to somehow make it right? William, you were kicked out for what you did prior, which were YOUR actions. There wasn’t supposed to be any “going back”. Maybe the legal system would make things seem more like actual justice if they encouraged the same thing as written on the back of many parking tickets: you can “admit”, “deny”, or “admit with explanation”. When people just flat out lie about things that are easily proveable, it clogs the system, fattens the pockets of unscrupulous attorneys (of which many judges used to be), and adds to the distrust that citizens have of it.
He also got caught committing BAH fraud for failing to disclose that his wife no longer lived with him (they divorced). As soon as you no longer have the person residing with you, regardless of whether or not you ever divorce, you are supposed to notify command in writing of the change with the appropriate form. More HERE. He is paying that back, according to the story.
Another writeup of the story can be found by clicking HERE.