Man who served in Army under an assumed name sentenced to time served and community service for passport fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri
ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Sarah E. Pitlyk on Tuesday sentenced a man who has been living under an assumed name since he used it to enlist in the U.S. Army 37 years ago to 100 hours of community service and the time he’s already served in jail.
DeLeo Antonio Barner, 60, will also be on supervised release for three years.
Barner had already served in the Army under his own name, but was discharged with no opportunity to reenlist, court records show.
Instead, in April of 1985, he enlisted using the name of a fellow St. Louis resident, identified in court documents as “J.S.” As J.S., Barner served in the United States Army until he was honorably discharged. Barner was stationed in Berlin, Germany, for several years while in the Army and stayed there after his honorable discharge.
Barner, using the victim’s name, then began working for security firms in Germany and did so for 33 years, according to court filings. He had six children there, all now living under his assumed name, according to filings.
In his plea agreement, Barner admitted applying for a U.S. passport using the victim’s name, and admitted using that name in at least three renewals of that passport.
In June of 2018, Barner’s victim applied for health insurance but was told that as a veteran, he had to access healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The victim had never served in the military, however. He told the Veterans Administration police about the use of his identify, triggering the involvement of the Veterans Administration Office of Inspector General and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.
In July of 2019, DSS special agents at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin interviewed Barner, who admitted using the identity of J.S. to obtain five U.S. passports, as well as Veterans Administration benefits.
Barner was indicted in March of 2020, and DSS coordinated with German officials and Barner for his surrender at the airport in Berlin on Aug. 27, 2021. Agents from the U.S. Marshals Service then escorted Barner to St. Louis. In total, Barner spent about a week in jail.
Barner pleaded guilty in May to a charge of making a false statement in a passport application
“The Diplomatic Security Service is firmly committed to working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate allegations of crimes related to passport and visa fraud, and protecting the integrity of U.S. passports and visas, the most sought after travel documents in the world,” said Gregory Batman, Chief of DSS’ Criminal Investigations Division. “DSS’ global presence was instrumental in facilitating the return of this individual from Germany.
The Veterans Administration Office of Inspector General and the Diplomatic Security Service Criminal Investigation Division investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Bateman prosecuted the case.
Updated September 6, 2022