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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 10, 2018

Former VA Employee Charged With Threatening An Army Chaplain

CONTACT:  Barbara Burns
PHONE:      (716) 843-5817
FAX #:         (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Morgan Fallon, 37, of Buffalo, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure the person of another. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Bonanno, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the defendant was employed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a Veterans Claims Examiner and was responsible for reviewing education reimbursement claims submitted by veterans and members of the United States military. Fallon was terminated in May 2018, based on, among other things, his interaction with an active-duty, commissioned Captain in the United States Army assigned as a Chaplain in the State of Louisiana.  

The Army Chaplain submitted a claim to the VA for reimbursement of expenses related to his religious education but in November 2017, the claim was denied by letter.  The letter was unusual in tone and contained sporadic bolded and underlined text. The Army Chaplain appealed the denial and complained about the unprofessional nature of the denial letter.

In the early afternoon on May 4, 2018, the VA informed the defendant that his employment was terminated, and he was given a packet of materials which explained the grounds for his termination, including the complaint from the Army Chaplain.

Later in the afternoon on May 4, 2018, the Army Chaplain received a telephone call which lasted approximately one minute. Realizing the call was coming from a 716 area code, the Army Chaplain assumed it was likely from the Buffalo VA processing center so he answered the telephone on speaker mode. His wife and daughter were present and heard the conversation. The complaint states that Fallon was the caller and said to the Army Chaplain:

“You’re the (expletive) trying to get me fired. Don’t know who the (expletive) you think you are. You’re a (expletive). You’re a worthless piece of (expletive). You don’t understand when you filed a claim, you’re out of benefits. You (expletive) don’t get it. You are a piece of (expletive). I have all your paperwork and you are trying to get me fired. I know where you live (expletive). I have all of your information. I will (expletive) end you. I will drive down there and take care of you, you’re (expletive) stupid, you (multiple expletives).

According to the complaint, the Army Chaplain felt threatened and believed the caller wanted him dead. As a result, the Army Chaplain contacted his supervisor who directed him to contact the military police. While speaking to the military police, the Army Chaplain noticed a call coming in from the same 716 telephone number as the previous call. The military police directed that he not answer this call and let it go to voicemail.
 
The Army Chaplain stated the caller left a voicemail which lasted one minute and 18 seconds. In the voicemail, the caller identified himself as “Morgan Fallon” and stated, “I am the VA employee you want fired so badly.” The caller also stated that the Army Chaplain was “the most pathetic person he had ever heard of.”  

The defendant made an initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroder and is being detained without bail.  

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of Resident Agent-in-Charge Jeffrey K. Stachowiak; and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Updated May 11, 2018