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AAFES is falsely claiming that I shoplifted. I returned an…

AAFES is falsely claiming...

AAFES is falsely claiming that I shoplifted. I returned an item to the Air Force BX and received a $250 gift card since I didn't have a receipt. Since the item is now obsolete (went obsolete before my return), AAFES is claiming that I should have not received the gift card that THEY gave me upon the item return and that I have to pay the $250 back plus a $200 administrative fee in addition to claiming that i actually shoplifted the merchandise that I returned. What can I expect as an Active Duty member nearing retirement?

Lawyer's Assistant: Are you overseas or stateside?

I'm stateside now but the return happened overseas about 7 months ago

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to anyone in the chain of command about this?

Yes, they are aware and I've been questioned

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Basically, how could this play out and can I possibly sue AAFES for character defamation on the claim the I shoplifted which is completely false?

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Answered in 1 hour by:
11/18/2017
P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 37,465
Experience: Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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Hi, My name is***** am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

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I am sorry for this dilemma. But not sure I understand your specific question. Where did this happen at (in the US or overseas)?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
This happened overseas in Korea at the AAFES store on base

THank you
Can you tell me, what is it you want to know? Are you asking if your command can prosecute you over this?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I’m asking if AAFES has a foot to stand on by falsely claiming that I shoplifted which didn’t happen and if I can possibly sue them? They have sent this info to the military investigating agency and are also trying to collect money via threatening letters of false shoplifting claims all because I returned an item that is now obsolete in that store.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
My leadership is aware and are waiting on the investigation to finish but this could take months depending on AAFES and I am scheduled to retire in 8 months.

Thanks
I have some thoughts and will type them up...a few mins please. OR if you want to speak on the phone, I will send that offer along (there is a nominal additional fee)

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Thank you for your patience.

Since this happened in Korea? IF you wanted to sue, you would need to sue under Korean law...likely in Korea. There is no federal defamation law, rather, in the US, the state in which the defamation occurs determines the law. And since this happened overseas, you would need to invoke Korean law (you can not apply US state law when you are out of that state).

So I think suing for Defamation will be problematic (I am not an expert in Korea law...and not sure what their rules are for defamation)

Now...can they make the claim?

Sure...they did.

But just because they claim it, does not make it so.

If the command wanted to punish you, for example, at Art 15, you could refuse Art 15 and that would force them to take you to court martial and prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on what you are describing, I suspect that may be tough to accomplish (tough to convict you at court martial)

Still...they could bypass court martial and move to administrativly separate you. The burden of prof for adsep is much lower than court martial. SO that is something that could happen...but you would have the right to a hearing on the matter to present your case before they could separate you

Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.

P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 37,465
Experience: Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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