GREENBELT, Md. — Philip Mungin, 58, of Bryans Road, Maryland, on April 23 pleaded guilty to forgery of a military discharge certificate and identity theft in connection with a scheme in which Mungin provided fraudulent discharge certificates to people for false military waiver applications for CDLs in exchange for payment.
The guilty plea was announced by acting U.S. Attorney for Maryland, Jonathan F. Lenzner; special agent in charge Jamie Mazzone, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT); the Office of Inspector General (OIG), Washington Regional Office; and special agent in charge Christopher Dillard of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).
According to his plea, between 1997 and 1999, Mungin was enlisted in the Army. Upon Mungin’s discharge in 1999, the first victim 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 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 can cost $3,000 to $7,000.
The DOT implemented a program in 2011, designed to help U.S. military veterans get jobs by allowing states to waive the driving skills test for those who could provide proof 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 helped him get a CDL by submitting falsified military paperwork.
MVA investigators later learned that 44 people 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 the first victim’s name and title at the bottom of the form, and many included a forged or photocopied version of the first victim’s signature. The certifying commanding officer on nearly all 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.
In 2020, a jury in Maryland indicted Mungin for fraudulent schemes alleged from 2017 through 2018. Mungin admits that he falsified DD-214s and military waiver forms for drivers wanting to obtain CDLs, in exchange for payment from the drivers, reportedly between $500 to $2,000 each. The fraudulent DD-214s allowed at least 30 different people to participate in the Military Skills Test Waiver Program, a DOT program that waives the CDL testing and education requirements for those with equivalent military training.
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 total 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 10 a.m. Aug. 16.