Former deputies plead guilty to defrauding taxpayers

“Their actions do not represent the values of this organization and absolutely do not reflect upon the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women who have courageously served our country as members of our armed forces.”

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Accused of stealing more than $46,000 in taxpayer money, a pair of twin brothers, who both served as Orange County sheriff’s deputies and reserve units in the U.S. Marine Corps, recently pleaded guilty to submitting dozens of fraudulent military orders to obtain wages paid for military leave.

Employed as a correctional service assistant and deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) from August 2015 to January 2021, Tyler Morgan and his twin brother Taylor were also in reserve units for the United States Marine Corps in Camp Pendleton, California. Taylor Morgan had the same job titles with OCSD from January 2017 to January 2020.

As Orange County deputies, they each received 30 vacation days every year along with an additional 30 days of paid leave to fulfill their active duties with the Marine Corps.

From June 2017 to November 2019, Tyler Morgan submitted 24 fraudulent military orders to OCSD to obtain military leave from the department. From May 2017 to January 2020, Taylor Morgan submitted 25 fraudulent military orders to OCSD to obtain military leave from the department. In fact, neither had been ordered by the Marine Corps to fulfill active duty obligations with their reserve units.

Although the brothers were on inactive duty at the time, they altered orders that appeared to have been authorized by a Marine Corps official and had the Department of Defense’s seal on them. In late July 2019, Tyler Morgan falsely claimed to be on active duty for an entire week, when he actually took a vacation to Las Vegas and spent an entire day at home playing “Call of Duty.”

In total, Taylor Morgan received 48 days of military leave to which he was not entitled, resulting in a loss of $14,000 to the County of Orange. Tyler Morgan received 64 days of fraudulently obtained military leave, resulting in a loss of $32,400 to the County.

On Tuesday, each pleaded guilty in separate hearings to a single-count information charging them with unlawful possession of an authentication feature of the United States, a misdemeanor offense.

“These former deputies took advantage of military service for their own personal gain. Their egregious misconduct was brought forward by a member of our department, investigated, and they have been terminated,” said Carrie Braun, a spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. “Their actions do not represent the values of this organization and absolutely do not reflect upon the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women who have courageously served our country as members of our armed forces.”

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