By Ogozi John
A man who lied to banks that he served in the Marine Corps and used counterfeit military paperwork to secure loans from banks, has pleaded guilty to charges of stolen valor and bank fraud.
While applying for a loan in 2004, Charles Bailey told the Newburyport Five Cent Savings Bank that he had served with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq for nine years, and received a Silver Star, a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Ribbon.
Also, he submitted a Photoshopped military document to convince the bank that the derogatory information on his credit report was illegally accrued by his ex-wife while he was serving overseas.
Newburyport Five Cent Savings Bank issued three loans totaling $300,000 to Bailey and made a public announcement stating that the loans were part of their support for the local community.
It was after this announcement that the bank got a call from Kennebunk Savings Bank informing them that Bailey had previously submitted what they suspected to be a fraudulent loan application with their bank. This prompted an investigation by Newburyport Savings Bank which uncovered a lot of false information.
A farm equipment dealer named as Atlas Tractor that sold farm equipment to Bailey, was actually a shell company owned by Bailey himself and he even used fake John Deere serial numbers. All the proceeds from the purported sales went back into his pockets. Also, when the bank did a Google earth search for his farm, it brought up images of a vacant lot.
Bailey also applied for an SBA loan from Citizen’s Bank which was refused after they discovered that the letter of good standing from the secretary of state’s office that he had submitted was actually forged. Together with a letter from Equifax stating that the derogatory information on his credit report was not his responsibility, which was also found to be a counterfeit.
Bailey used these military lies and fake letters for years, including a reported case in 2013, where after obtaining a loan from Farm Credit East that later became delinquent, he lied that he was facing hardship due to the critical health condition of his wife and son and was expecting to get financial support from the military’s Family Emergency Services, Camp Pendleton. He also submitted a counterfeit letter using the US Marine Corps letter head stating that he was being called to active duty.
“Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Bailey, 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion (Forward), 1st Group, Senior Forward Combat Operator, was ordered to report to Marine Special Operations Training Battalion, Camp Pendleton for “pre-deployment condition and proficiency training on October 7, 2013, at 0500 hours local time,” the forged letter stated.
Bailey now faces up to 30 years in prison and is expected to pay millions of dollars in fines.