Moylan Legislation Punishing Imposters Claiming Military Benefits Passes Committee
05/10/2016“Our veterans and active military members sacrifice a huge part of their lives for their country and this entitles them to some well-earned benefits,” Moylan said. “We have to make sure we aren’t letting imposters get credit for something they never did and that benefits are going to the true heroes who deserve them.”
Moylan’s legislation, Senate Bill 2167, defines the new offense as occurring when someone obtains money, property, or other benefits by falsely representing him or herself as an active-duty service member or veteran. The bill establishes the penalty as a fine of at least $100. Currently, no such offense exists. Similar offenses, such as false personation, are in place and are designed to curtail people from misrepresenting themselves as public officials for monetary gain. This bill expands the definition to cover those falsely representing themselves as former or current military members.
It is against federal law to falsely claim in an attempt to gain benefits that one has received certain honors or badges from military service, but it is not a federal offense to falsely claim that one simply served in the military.
This bill was brought to the attention of lawmakers after a veteran detailed an account of witnessing a person pose as a veteran in order to sign up for veteran’s benefits.
“The brave men and women who have earned benefits for their selfless sacrifice should not have those benefits robbed by frauds,” Moylan said. “Given the sacrifices military members make when serving our country, our veterans deserve laws that protect their record of service and prevent imposters from claiming benefits they never earned.