Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis today sentenced Philip Mungin, age 58, formerly of Bryans Road, Maryland and currently residing in Mira Loma, California, to three months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for forgery of a military discharge certificate and for identity theft, in connection with a scheme in which Mungin provided fraudulent DD-214 discharge certificates to individuals for fraudulent military waiver applications for commercial driver’s licenses in exchange for payment. Judge Xinis also ordered Mungin to forfeit $13,000, and to pay a money judgment of $2,000.
The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Jamie Mazzone, U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General (DOT OIG), Mid-Atlantic Region; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Mid-Atlantic Field Office.
According to his guilty plea, between 1997 and 1999, Mungin was enlisted in the Army. Upon Mungin’s discharge in 1999, Victim 1 was the “Senior Transition Specialist” who helped process Mungin’s discharge and signed Mungin’s military discharge certificate, known as the DD-214.
Federal law mandates that drivers of commercial vehicles, such as tractor-trailers and semi-trucks, obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Among other requirements, CDL applicants must pass both a written test and a driving skills test. Third-parties, such as driving schools, are authorized to train prospective CDL holders and administer the necessary tests, however, this training generally takes weeks to complete and may cost students between $3,000 and $7,000. The Department of Transportation implemented a program in 2011, aimed at helping U.S. military veterans to get jobs by allowing states to waive the driving skills test for U.S. military veterans who could provide proof that they had been trained to operate the relevant vehicles in the military. To demonstrate their eligibility, veterans had to submit their DD-214 and complete an application, signed by the applicant’s commanding officer to certify that they had the relevant driving experience.
As detailed in the plea agreement, in December 2018, employees at the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) office in Waldorf, Maryland, became suspicious of waiver documents submitted by an applicant and confronted the applicant. The applicant, who had never been in the military, identified Mungin as the person who offered to help him get a CDL by submitting falsified military paperwork. MVA investigators subsequently learned that 44 individuals had submitted fraudulent waiver applications. Many of the drivers who obtained CDLs based on fraudulent military paperwork identified Mungin as the person who helped them. Thirty-four of the fraudulent applications had Victim 1’s name and title at the bottom of the form, many of which included a forged or photocopied version of Victim 1’s signature. The certifying commanding officer on nearly all of the fraudulent waiver forms was the same, a purported colonel. Department of Defense records showed that no person by that name had ever served in the U.S. military.
Specifically, Mungin admitted in his plea agreement that he falsified DD-214s and military waiver forms for drivers wanting to obtain CDLs, in exchange for the drivers paying Mungin—reportedly between $500 to $2,000 each. Mungin often accompanied applicants with fraudulent paperwork to obtain their licenses, typically wearing a military uniform while doing so. At times, Mungin told the employees he was a member of the military police accompanying members who were about to be discharged to obtain their CDLs. At least one fraudulent CDL was issued in Virginia using the same forged DD-214 that Mungin had used with the Maryland drivers. In that application, Mungin listed himself as the commanding officer on the waiver form.
Mungin acknowledged that he received between $15,000 and $40,000 to create false military paperwork, including DD-214s, to assist drivers in fraudulently obtaining CDLs.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the DOT OIG, DCIS, and the MDOT MVA for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Caitlin R. Cottingham, who prosecuted the case.
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