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Fort Bragg soldier accused of fraud after wife's suicide

Posted May 23, 2012

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— The 82nd Airborne Division is looking into fraud allegations against a Fort Bragg soldier following the suicide of his wife earlier this month.

About 10 months ago, Spc. Isaac Goodwin married 22-year-old Katherine Morris in Virginia. Morris' mother is alleging that Goodwin only married her daughter to defraud the U.S. Army into giving him extra money for housing.

Marguerite Morris said that, by wedding her daughter, Goodwin became entitled to a Basic Allowance for Housing, which upped his pay by about $700 a month so that he could afford to live off-post with his wife. But Goodwin and Katherine Morris never shared a home in North Carolina, Marguerite Morris said, and Goodwin kept the money for himself.

Marguerite Morris said the phony marriage drove her daughter to depression and, ultimately, suicide.

"She loved him and she just couldn't – it was overwhelming to her that someone had fraudulently married her and betrayed her trust in so many facets," she said.

After meeting with Marguerite Morris on Wednesday, commanders with the 82nd Airborne Division ordered an investigation. 

Goodwin, who was granted emergency leave from Afghanistan after his wife's death, said the allegations are false and that he married his wife "because I love her."

Marguerite Morris Mother-in-law claims Bragg soldier defrauded wife, Army

He welcomed the Army investigation.

"I have nothing to hide. I support the Army. I love the Army," Goodwin said.

Goodwin, who is staying with his parents in Columbia, S.C., before resuming his deployment, has not been charged with any crime. The Army has appointed an investigating officer who will review evidence and conduct interviews to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted or whether the case should be referred to law enforcement for possible criminal charges.

Marguerite Morris said the two met at a social event and dated for several months before getting married. Her daughter, who planned to enroll in officer training school with the Air Force after graduating from University of Maryland, didn't tell her parents about the marriage. Her mother said that was because Goodwin told her not to.

"He convinced her somehow that if they didn't marry when she got accepted (to officer training school), they would have a problem with the military," Marguerite Morris said. "Being young and just not knowing about those sort of things, she just kind of fell for it."

After the wedding in a Virginia courtroom, Katherine Morris returned to Maryland to finish school and Goodwin prepared to deploy to Afghanistan. 

"He married her, took the license back to Fort Bragg and immediately filed for the financial benefits," Marguerite Morris said. "Every month, up to December or January, he pocketed that money."

In December, Katherine Morris tried to kill herself, her mother said. That's when her parents found out about the marriage. After that, Marguerite Morris said, Goodwin began sending his wife some of the housing allowance he was getting.

On May 6, just three weeks before graduation, Katherine Morris was found dead in her car near a mall in suburban Baltimore. The medical examiner ruled it a suicide.

Now, Marguerite Morris is determined to create awareness about what happened to her daughter in the hopes that other women won't enter into what she called a "marriage of convenience."

"This is not about revenge. This is about justice for her, because she wanted her story told," she said. "It's not just about her pain. It's the pain of others (too)." 

8 Comments

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  • ladyblue May 24, 6:02 p.m.

    if he was shipping out to afghanistan they didn't have time to set up house keeping. i didn't set up housekeeping when my husband was drafted off to Nam quicker than planned after our marriage. He should of helped her by sending some money back home..she could of gone to his CO and that would have gotten the ball rolling and she'd not be gone.. .

  • gabewilliams12 May 24, 2:45 p.m.

    I would have to agree with another poster. Mom is upset about not knowing they were married before and that her daughter committed killed her self. After she attempted to kill herself back in December, why didnt her mom watch her closer? She appears to have had mental issues. I think blaming the husband is more revenge. Did the daughter have a ID card? was she on his DEERS? May the wife RIP may the mother remember her daughter choose to marry this man.

  • loprestw May 24, 11:04 a.m.

    lets blame it on PTSD like everything else!!!

  • longjuanita May 24, 8:29 a.m.

    I find it rather interesting that individuals will make comments without knowing the full story. Regardless, please know that Kathy was a lovely young lady that did not deserve to be treated the way that she was treated. Imagine being a young married woman in love and thinking that you will spend the rest of your life with a man, only to find out the real truth about him. That would devastate most older adults. Now imagine how a young adult would feel. I am pretty sure that if the story was "suspect," then there would not be reports done on this or an investigation going on right now by the military. Clearly the military thought that there was enough evidence to warrant the investigation.

  • Worland May 23, 5:59 p.m.

    I see no fraud here. They got married which made him responsible for her welfare and entitled to them to receive BAH & BAS. As long as she had a roof over her head and food in the cupboard, what they did with the BAH money is their business.

    It's quite normal for troops to marry while their spouse is still in school in another state. It's also quite normal for their civilian spouse to go home and live with mama while the soldier is deployed. If she did become an officer after college, it is better for her career to have been married to an enlisted man before being commissioned to avoid any appearance of fraternization (though the military is now a much more kinder and gentler force towards officer & enlisted marriages than they used to be).

  • lvudean May 23, 5:52 p.m.

    This story is suspect. I'm sure there is more to the story. I think ultimately mom is upset that her daughter killed herself and wanted to blame this soldier. I think if people were to delve further she probably had some mental illness issues that weren't disclosed in this article.

  • mfarmer1 May 23, 5:23 p.m.

    This happens from time to time in the military, this is not new news. I have heard of this when I was in, and The Couple Normally would split the money.

  • 2gurlz2boyzMom May 23, 5:05 p.m.

    wow he got extra pay for something he didn't even need. he was deployed, not needing a house here...and she lived in maryland. why did he need the extra money... to fraud the US. thanks for serving, but no thanks for being a fraud. he needs to pay all that money back, and give some to his "wife's" family for the funeral and burial. in reality, he should of been the one that paid for that...did he?