MSgt, U.S. Marines
Fleet Marine Corps Reserve
Harrison Township, MI 48045
March 7, 2005
Office Of The Governor
George W. Romney Bldg
111 South Capitol Ave
Lansing, MI. 48909
Dear Governor Jennifer M. Granholm,
A few months ago I wrote a letter to your office concerning the State of Michigan violating several Federal Laws by taking away half of my Military VA Disability Pay, by awarding it to my former spouse in the form of a property settlement.
I received a returned reply from your office, 2 December 2004 (see full letter attached), which stated,
“After reviewing your letter with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, it appears that this issue is not a state matter, but one that falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government. As a state government official, the Governor does not have any jurisdiction over federal agencies, but I am certain that your concerns can be addressed by a representative of the federal government”.
Governor Granholm, to clarify my previous letter, I have attached documents and will explain the situation again for your review and reevaluation. I believe this is an issue that the State of Michigan does have jurisdiction of because the State of Michigan through their attorneys and courts has submitted fraudulent documents to the United States Government. I believe the State of Michigan must fix these injustices and not “pass the buck”.
Presently, the State of Michigan and its Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has failed to enforce the laws that protect Military Veterans and the State has failed to protect veterans from fraud.
On 30 November 2001, the State of Michigan prepared a Consent Judgment of Divorce (see attached) prepared by attorneys who practice in the State of Michigan and signed by a Judge who practices in the State of Michigan. On page seven of this consent judgment, under the title “PROPERTY SETTLEMENT’, you will find a paragraph that reads as follows,
“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Plaintiff, pursuant to Qualified Domestic Relations Order, shall be awarded 50% of the Defendant pension plan and VA Benefits from the Military from the date of the marriage to the date of the entry of this Judgment. Further, Defendant shall fully cooperate in obtaining any and all information that is necessary for said Order and that until implementation of the QDRO, Defendant shall pay 50% of these benefits directly to the Plaintiff.
The above paragraph violates federal laws 10 USC 1408 and 38 USC 5301 by awarding my former spouse my Military VA Disability Pay.
In addition, the above paragraph, per the attached letters from the Department of Defense, Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), failed to award my Military Retainer Pay properly. Specifically, the language dividing retainer pay is faulty and does not follow Federal Regulations. In order for an award to be enforceable, it must be expressed either as a fixed dollar amount or as a percentage of disposable retired pay in accordance with Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act USFSPA (Title 10, Section 1408), Dividing Military Retired Pay.
The two letters from DFAS (see attached) explained how to take corrective action concerning my Military Retainer Pay. These letters have been presented to the opposing party but the opposing party failed to take the corrective action that was directed by DFAS.
Instead of taking corrective action per the DFAS letters, the opposing party continued to submit the State of Michigan Consent Judgment of Divorce to DFAS, at least on three separate occasions. Each time the consent judgment was submitted to DFAS along with a DD Form 2293, fraud was committed towards the United States Government.
The USFSPA, at 10 USC 1408(c)(1), statutorily limits payments to former spouses to no more than 50% of "disposable retirement pay". This statute, at 10 USC 1408(A)(4), clearly defines "disposable retirement pay" as that amount left over after mandatory deductions for the retiree's Federal income tax withholding and other amounts such that waived statutorily due to the receipt of veterans disability payments. No Federal law authorizes the State of Michigan court, attorney or former spouse to circumvent this limitation through any legal means so a former spouse can recoup any funds lost when the military retiree waives retirement pay to receive veterans' disability pay.
My former spouse, and her attorney who prepared the divorce order, have openly evaded the statutory payment limitations of 10 USC 1408 by having the State of Michigan court divorce decree containing authorization to commit or attempt to commit violations of law because I waived my military retirement pay to receive veterans’ disability payments.
Not only does this action by my former spouse and her attorney, by their submission of payment demand applications (DD Form 2293) and State of Michigan court orders to DFAS, violate the limits of 10 USC 1408(A), they also signal an intent to use some scheme to violate the non-assignment of veterans disability payments clause appearing at 38 USC 5301. The seriousness of this issue is amplified when one considers the U.S. Sentencing Commission assigns a criminal sentence level of 2B1.1 to a 38 USC 5301 violation.
When requesting a direct payment from DFAS, my former spouse through her attorney submitted the State of Michigan divorce order and a signed DD Form 2293, "Application for Former Spouse Payments From Retired Pay” http://www.dfas.mil/money/garnish/ scroll down to Application for Former Spouse Payments from Retired Pay. The DD Form 2293 clearly states the following:
- "I hereby acknowledge that any payment to me must be paid from disposable retired pay as defined by the statute and implementing regulations." (Block 3, last sentence, DD Form 2293)
- "Making a false statement or claim against the United States Government is punishable. The penalty for making a false claim or false statement is a maximum fine of $10,000 or maximum imprisonment of 5 years or both (18 USC 287 and 1001)." (INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETION OF DD FORM 2293 Block, last sentence titled Important Note, DD Form 2293)
The Michigan State court divorce decree order and DD Form 2293 being submitted by my former spouse through her attorney and accepted by DFAS which, on their face, inform the government of intent, conspiracy or an actual act to violate the limitations of 10 USC 1408 and prohibitions of 38 USC 5301, the latter of which is a criminal act punishable by prison and fines.
To add more to these injustices, now two orders conflict, the 30 November 2001 original Consent Judgment of Divorce and a 5 March 2004 QDRO. The QDRO does not clearly cancel the original consent judgment of divorce, and the terms of division differ, thus two court orders conflict.
Additionally, you will find attached to this letter
an article from the “Knight Ridder Newspaper dated 6 March 2005”. This article is a disturbing trend that seems to be in place here in the State of Michigan. Military Veterans do not receive help from this State, even though the State provides nearly $4 million a year to help veterans apply for disability and other federal benefits.
Please hold these Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) accountable for the money that your State is giving to them. None of these VSOs have a clue about the administrative and legal requirements to help veterans.
Recommendation. - Only send the VSOs money if they agree to send representatives to official schools/courses that will train them in all aspects of helping a veteran, legally and administratively. And of course, these representatives must continually stay abreast of the veterans’ laws by maintaining current certifications.
James T. North
MSgt, U.S. Marines
Fleet Marine Corps Reserve
Category II, Deployable
United States Senator Carl Levin
United States Senator Debbie Stabenow
Congresswoman Candice Miller
<<gov.cpy.pdf>> (file size: 430 kb)
The information contained in this e-mail, and any attachments thereto, is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee(s) named herein. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify us immediately by replying to this message and then permanently deleting the original. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privileges.