Social Question

woodcutter's avatar

Should it be a crime for someone to impersonate a member of our military?

Asked by woodcutter (16224 points ) August 4th, 2011

If they do it to curry favor especially during a time of conflict, like getting false ID’s and checking accounts with a fictitious rank next to their name on the checks.

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24 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

Yes. To me it’s no different than impersonating an officer of the law.

FluffyChicken's avatar

Yeah, it’s a bad idea in general. There are less harmful/dangerous ways to work the system.

zenvelo's avatar

Yes. And it should be a crime to wear any badges of honor that were not awarded, like the guy who never served but wore a uniform and a Medal of Honor to a reunion. But the courts found a law against that unconstitutional.

woodcutter's avatar

Y’all know there’s a story behind this.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Isn’t it already?

woodcutter's avatar

That’s what I want to know too @Simone_De_Beauvoir It should be. I mean the only motivation to do it is to trick people for whatever reason they can use to their advantage. And it’s a slap in the face to the real soldiers who tow the line for real.

tranquilsea's avatar

I don’t know that it should automatically be a crime. We should have public outings of such people as long as they haven’t used the uniform as a way to commit a crime.

Blackberry's avatar

Yes, uh, hellooooooo, the Norway killer. People ran up to him, thinking he was an authority figure, only to be killed from being deceived.

woodcutter's avatar

@Blackberry that was so bad it isn’t even on the bad scale, maybe off the bad end of the evil scale or maybe on a worse scale no one has thought of yet. He’ll do a few years and get out.

woodcutter's avatar

If they don’t get jail time then I hope it is part of their criminal record that follows them always. These people can’t be trusted. It may even be a kind of sickness even if there is no lasting harm done. I don’t think this was common during the war in Vietnam due to the huge shitlist the army was on,( whether or not it was deserved).

Plucky's avatar

I thought it already was a crime to do so?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Yes.I thought it was a crime.

choreplay's avatar

Yes. Is this a trick question?

woodcutter's avatar

No not a trick. This question was inspired by one of my other recent questions http://www.fluther.com/126067/i-want-a-serious-answer-can-anyone-tell-me-if-the/ And I just found out today the guy was posing as a Major in the US army. He has his checks with Major So and So on the top. I have it on good intel now ,he was rifted out many years ago so,he’s just using up all those old checks cause he’s too cheap to order new or, he is reordering checks and getting the same one’s.
See, I had a feeling this guy was weird. I mean he was too “ate up with the dumb ass” to be a Major ,or he was a really bad one. But it says so right there on his checks, that he stopped payment on. He still owes me for work done so it’s looking like small claims it is.
I just wonder what the judge will make of this when I show him, or her, the copy of the returned check. Maybe it will spin off into some just punishment. That rank/ title carried a lot of weight with me when it was presented to me and would probably declined his offer if I knew he was a nobody with a spiel, playing me. I suspect he was going to screw me over pretty badly if I had gone ahead and completed all the work instead of backing off when my intuition started grinding metal.

woodcutter's avatar

@choreplay Can you get a link that has info on this? This clown is a disgrace and needs to be stopped.

choreplay's avatar

I did get the link and yes I agree

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

It should be. It is disgraceful for someone to do so.

Zaku's avatar

Before we add more laws, notice that fraud is illegal, which covers most of the situations, and I expect there are already ample laws and military procedures that could make trying to be abusive in a uniform a bad idea.

woodcutter's avatar

I have looked at the case study and apparently because of the 1st amendment and the freedom of speech it’s not illegal to lie. However I wonder if having checks with a false title on them is speech or worthy of free speech protection if its printed. I would think the main reason is to fool people by having the falsehood right there on the checks to create a false persona that will cause the unknowing to be deceived into trusting when ordinarily they might not. I mean what else could it be?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter It’s not illegal to lie. It is illegal to lie for personal gain. That’s called “fraud.”

woodcutter's avatar

@SavoirFaire It might be a stretch but if someone intentionally misrepresents themselves in order to seem honest to clinch a deal then they are trying to gain something they may not feel as successful at by being up front about themselves. Sort of like lying on a resume’ to appear to be something they are not in order to gain employment they would not have really been qualified for. At the very least it’s a dirty trick, but to me it’s a lie from the start, or a fraud. But is the law worded in a way to excuse this as a harmless lie?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@woodcutter In your particular situation with that guy, it really depends on the situation. If he retired as a Major in the military, he still is a Major. It’s not a lie or fraud. If he got out for other reasons, I think it depends on the type of discharge as far as his title. There are a lot of professions/positions where a person keeps their title, even when they are no longer working.

woodcutter's avatar

@Seaofclouds I have it on good information he was rifted out. It’s when an officer is told to resign his commission. Something that productive officers never do. The duds are cleared out of the way so a more deserving candidate gets to move up. Seems harsh I know, but that’s the way the military handles it and for good reason. It’s a serous business defending a country. I’ll wait to see what the DA has to say about this. Stopping pmt on a check for services rendered is highly frowned upon around here.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@woodcutter I’m not a lawyer, and I suspect that fraud laws vary somewhat by state. The elements of common law fraud can be found here, however, and it seems the only one that would be difficult to prove is this person’s intent to use his claimed rank to defraud you. There is also a link near the bottom of the article to 18 U.S.C. ยง 704, which addresses false claims of military decoration. The code doesn’t explicitly mention claims of rank, but it may cover physical representations of rank. As you are more familiar with both the military and the situation at hand than I, you are better situated to spot some part of the law he violated.

I wish you the best of luck in pursuing this. Since fraud is both a criminal and civil offense, you might go to the police and see if they are interested in pursuing the case. They might then be able to gather evidence that you could not get on your own—evidence you could later use in small claims court or otherwise.

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