A federal grand jury in Nashville returned a 29-count indictment yesterday charging 63 year old Robert E. Neener of Smithville with wire fraud, mail fraud, and using and selling falsely made seals of various federal agencies, including several branches of the United States military. The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin and alleges that in 2007 and 2008, Neener operated an Internet business called “Bob Neener Military Documents,” which offered to sell various military service certificates to the public. These documents were intended to reflect that the person named was a disabled veteran; had been honorably discharged; had received a presidential citation; or had been recognized for various other military service achievements.
“Federal criminal laws prohibit the use of mail and wire communication to mislead and defraud the public regarding products being offered for sale,” said U.S. Attorney Martin. “These laws also protect the reliability of documents that reflect achievements by those who have served in the military, by prohibiting the unauthorized use of military agency seals on fake documents which purport to have been issued by branches of the military. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will aggressively prosecute such violations of law, when such action is warranted by the evidence.”
The indictment further alleges that Neener engaged in a fraudulent scheme by falsely claiming that the documents were authentic; that they were exact reproductions of original documents; and that he had contracts with the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army, and other agencies which authorized him to make and sell the documents. The indictment also charged Neener with violating federal law by making and placing images of the official seals used by various branches of the military and other federal agencies on the documents he sold.
If convicted, Neener faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment for each of the 14 counts of wire fraud and mail fraud, and up to five years for each of the 15 counts charging the false use of a federal agency seal.
The case was jointly investigated by the VA Office of Inspector General; the Postal Inspection Service; the Naval Criminal Investigation Service; the Secret Service; the FBI; and the Tennessee Highway Patrol CID. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hilliard Hester.
The public is reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and have the right to a trial, at which the government would have to bear the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.