BAH is a military term that stands for “Basic Allowance for Housing.” This is an allowance that is calculated based on many factors, including the serviceperson’s location, pay grade, number of dependents, and other data. BAH fraud then would involve manipulation of various documents or information in order for the military personnel to receive more than they are actually entitled to.
An example of BAH fraud is where a family lives in a high-cost residential area, but claims that they live in a lower cost neighborhood.
Similarly, OHA stands for “Overseas Housing Allowance.” OHA fraud would involve false statements or documents related to the housing expenses of a military serviceperson stationed abroad. Both BAH and OHA fraud are serious offenses that can lead to various legal consequences. They are similar to offenses like larceny (such as when a person receives money in the bank that they are not entitled to, yet fails to return it).
How are BAH and OHA Fraud Proven?
In order to prove BAH or OHA fraud, authorities may conduct an audit of the serviceperson’s documents, accounts, and other information. This can include records such as:
- Bank account statements and transaction receipts
- Rental and lease agreements
- Moving expense records
- Document related to marriage and birth certificates (for the children)
- Travel documents and receipts
- Various other files
These types of fraud are prosecuted under various military laws, including False Official Statements laws and Larceny statutes. In order to convict the person, authorities must show that the person acted with intent to deceive. Thus, mere errors or mistakes on a form may not be enough to convict the person. They may also need to prove that the person had knowledge that they were receiving money that they were not entitled to, and that they had no intent of returning it.
Are There any Legal Consequences for BAH or OHA Fraud?
Legal consequences for BAH or OHA fraud can be severe, as many forms are signed under penalty of perjury. Consequences can include:
- Being stripped of rank
- Loss of retirement pay or other benefits
- Requirement that the service person pay restitution for the monetary amounts stolen
- Other consequences
BAH, OHA, and other types of military fraud can sometimes apply to persons who are no longer in the military, such as retired persons and persons receiving disability pay or other benefits.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with a BAH Fraud or OHA Fraud Case?
In many military law cases, military lawyers may assist with the case. However, in some cases, civilian lawyers who have military experience may be hired for the case. You may wish to hire a criminal lawyer in your area if you or someone you know needs assistance with a BAH fraud or OHA fraud case.