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SANTA ANA, Calif. (Tribune News Service) — Two former Orange County sheriff’s deputies — twin brothers — pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to defrauding taxpayers by collecting salary to go on military duty as reservists when they actually were doing things like going to Las Vegas or staying home playing the “Call of Duty” video game.

Taylor and Tyler Morgan, both 26, of Long Beach, received no jail time but were put on home detention, Taylor Morgan for six months and Tyler Morgan for eight months. U.S. Magistrate Judge Autumn D. Spaeth also ordered Taylor Morgan to pay $14,000 in restitution while Tyler Morgan was ordered to pay $32,400 for the misdemeanor offenses.

Both men served as reservists for the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton. They were initially tripped up by a sheriff’s internal investigation that found five deputies and two correctional workers had forged military documents so they could get paid for fulfilling their reservist duties when they had not. All the employees worked in the jail system.

As part of their employment, the brothers were entitled to 30 days leave per year that could be used for vacations, military service and other personal reasons. In addition to that leave, the defendants received an additional 30 days per year to fulfill active duty obligations with their reserve units.

From June 2017 to November 2019, Tyler Morgan submitted 24 fraudulent military orders to the Sheriff’s Department to obtain military leave. From May 2017 to January 2020, Taylor Morgan submitted 25 fraudulent military orders 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.

The brothers embarked on the scheme, submitting realistic paperwork, so they wouldn’t have to use their vacation time, federal court officials said. For most of the time, the brothers were on inactive duty, which was not compensated by the Sheriff’s Department.

Tyler Morgan did not inform the Sheriff’s Department that, during one week while he was on inactive drill, he took a trip to Las Vegas, and spent one day at home playing the “Call of Duty” video game.

In total, Taylor Morgan received 48 days of military leave to which he was not entitled and Tyler Morgan received 64 days of fraudulently obtained military leave. Both brothers were terminated from the Sheriff’s Department for their crimes, according to spokeswoman Carrie Braun.

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(c)2021 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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