QUESTION: SHOULD THE INVESTIGATION OF THESE OFFENSES BE COORDINATED WITH
ANSWER: YES. THESE OFFENSES ARE COMPLEX. SOME OF THE ACCUSED ARE FAIRLY
SOPHISTICATED. THE INVESTIGATION SHOULD BE CAREFULLY THOUGHT OUT AND
ALWAYS COORDINATED WITH THE SERVICING PROSECUTOR.
QUESTION: WHAT SORT OF FALSE CLAIMS ARE MADE?
ANSWER: TDY TRAVEL AND DAMAGE TO HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE TWO VERY
COMMON CATEGORIES OF FRAUDULENT CLAIMS.
QUESTION: A SOLDIER CLAIMED SOME SILVERWARE WAS LOST IN A MOVE. HE FILED
A CLAIM AND SUBMITTED A STATEMENT SUPPOSEDLY SIGNED BY HIS MOTHER, TO
DOCUMENT THE LOSS. THE STATEMENT SAID SHE GAVE THE SILVERWARE TO HIM AS
A WEDDING GIFT. WHEN SHE WAS QUESTIONED, HOWEVER, SHE STATED SHE HAD
NEVER HEARD OF THE SILVERWARE. IS THIS A FALSE CLAIM CASE?
ANSWER: YES. U.S. V. WHITE, 17 MJ 953 (AFCMR 1984).
F. Investigative Guidelines. As we said earlier, some of these cases are complex.
imperative that you work with JAG. In putting the case together, follow these basic rules:
1. Avoid Assumptions--Prove it. When putting together the proof, do not assume the
elements--prove them. Avoid saying "I know that is true," or "of course that is true, everyone knows
that," or "we can assume that." This may not be true. The judge may not share your outlook, or your
assumptions. Do not rely on conclusions, rely on evidence and proof. Do not say "I now it's true
because witness X told me so the other day." If that is what happened, get a statement from witness X.
Make you own statement as to what witness X told you. In cases where you interview people over the
telephone, write up MFRs or AIRs reflecting the substance of the conversation. The trial counsel will
want statements and evidence on all of the elements. Two months later, at trial, the witness may
"forget" ever having talked to you, or may contradict what you say, or may contradict what you say he
said earlier. You may be the government's only evidence to substantiate what really happened. Do not
just rely on your memory.
If you have a case involving illegal possession of a firearm, the prosecutor does not
necessarily want to carry around two World War II submachine guns. Take pictures of them and write a
statement describing them and their condition. Are they operable? Find out and say so. Do not assume
they are. Are they even real? Find out and avoid some real embarrassment at trial. Check them out and
write a brief MFR stating they are in good mechanical working order. The key is documenting what you
do. Similarly, if your case involves a museum curator who has allegedly stolen some 100-year-old
dresses, photograph them. Also, determine their value. Don't assume they're valuable just because
they're old. Remember, don't assume--prove your case.
2. Document Everything.