Knowledge Center: — FAQ’s —- DEBT/COLLECTION TERMS —- STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS —- MILITARY DEBT —- COLLECTION PROCESS
Article 134 of the MCM states:
- the accused was indebted to a certain person or entity in a certain sum;
- this debt became due and payable on or about a certain date;
- while the debt was still due and payable the accused dishonorably failed to pay this debt; and
- under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was either: (i) to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces; (ii) was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces; or (iii) to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces and of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.
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Can military personnel actually be prosecuted?
Yes. But it would need to be clear that the person involved was more than just negligent to be prosecuted for dishonorably failing to pay. This would mean the failure to pay involved deceit, evasion, false promises, or other signs that the non-payment was deliberate.
What if the debt is disputed?
Because prosecution requires more than negligence, the debt in questions must be a clear case of non-payment. If the accused has a counterclaim or a dispute about the facts of the debt, there would not be a clear case of dishonorably failing to pay. If the accused has a defense for why they did not pay, that issue must be resolved before there could be a dishonorable failure to pay.
What kind of punishment is there?
If a service member is convicted of dishonorable failure to pay through Article 134, they would face a maximum punishment of a full bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months.
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