Pentagon’s “Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure”

❝ …the military maintains a database of the federal government’s worst ethics violators. Unlike many government documents, the encyclopedia is clear, easy to read … and actually quite funny. Many of the stories are as amusing as they are aggravating.

It might be the most light-hearted official report anyone’s ever written about criminals…

❝ The Army pays its soldiers a monthly housing allowance. Married soldiers get more cash than singles do.

To game the system, one sergeant convinced his girlfriend to pretend to be his wife. He even forged a marriage license to substantiate the union. He took taxpayers for almost $30,000 in healthcare and housing.

“The relationship must have gone sour, though,” the report reads. “She ended up turning him in to military investigators. After such a betrayal, one can only assume he will now be filing for a fake divorce.”

I’ve known a few military lifers who figured all of this out. Track down old episodes of “Sergeant Bilko” for an education. My best representative example – though not alone – was a master sergeant who told me his biggest fear was of accidentally being promoted. His rank was ideal for all the hustles he ever imagined. Promotion would cost him money.

His wife didn’t do badly either. During the post WW2 occupation, she followed hubby to Japan and took a job in a military support office. Every morning, she brought a dozen eggs fresh from the PX to work and left them in the bottom drawer of her desk. Every night, she’d open the drawer and the eggs were gone. Replaced by a single pearl. When they left Japan for assignment elsewhere, she simply wore the newly-strung pearls through customs. Five strands.