Greenbelt, Maryland – Philip Mungin, age 58, of Bryans Road, Maryland, pleaded guilty on Friday, April 23, 2021, to forgery of a military discharge certificate and 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.
The guilty plea 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, Washington Regional Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard of the 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 $3,000 to $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 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 admits 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. Employees at the Waldorf MVA were familiar with Mungin because he 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.
As part of his plea agreement, Mungin will be required to forfeit any money, property, or assets derived as a result of, or used to facilitate, the commission of his illegal activities, and will also be required to pay a money judgment of $2,000.
Mungin faces a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison for forgery of a military discharge certificate and a maximum of 15 years in federal prison for identity theft. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for August 16, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the DOT OIG, DCIS, and the Maryland MVA Office of Investigations and Internal Affairs for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine K. Dick, who is prosecuting the case.