A pair of twin brothers who worked as Orange County sheriff’s deputies pleaded guilty Tuesday to defrauding taxpayers by falsely reporting they’d been called to serve the military and collected paid leave, prosecutors said.
Taylor and Tyler Morgan, 26-year-old Long Beach residents, together received more than $46,000 in military leave for time when they weren’t called to serve but simply didn’t want to lose vacation days, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Santa Ana said in a news release.
The brothers each pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of unlawful possession of a U.S. authentication feature and were immediately sentenced to a year of probation.
The men will also have to repay the money they obtained — $14,000 for Taylor Morgan and $32,400 for Tyler Morgan — and will have to serve home detention — six months for Taylor Morgan and eight months for Tyler Morgan, prosecutors said.
Last September, the Sheriff’s Department said it was investigating seven of its deputies after allegations of false military leave reporting came to light, but none of the deputies’ names had been released.
The Morgans admitted in their plea agreements to each filing around two dozen fake military orders.
Both men worked for the Sheriff’s Department while also being in reserve units for the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Department gave each of them 30 days of paid leave per year, along with an additional 30 days of leave for fulfilling active-duty obligations, officials said.
Prosecutors say the brothers altered orders that appeared to be official notices requiring them to serve active duty at Camp Pendleton, and the documents included a Department of Defense seal and Marine Corps authorization.
In one instance, Tyler Morgan admitted he submitted an order to make it look as if he was going to be on active duty in late July 2019. While he was on active duty for part of that time, he also took a trip to Las Vegas and spent time at home playing “Call of Duty,” prosecutors said.
Tyler Morgan allegedly received a total of 64 days of military leave to which he was not entitled, and Taylor Morgan 48 days.