Three Camp Pendleton Marines are facing serious charges after being accused of marrying purely for financial gain.
10News learned the couples, including a lesbian couple, have been receiving thousands of dollars a month from the Marine Corps, something the military only offers to heterosexual couples.
One of the Marines involved told 10News reporter Preston Phillips the practice is not uncommon and if gays in the military were allowed the same benefits, they wouldn't have to break the law.
Camp Pendleton-based Marine Cpl. Ashley Vice and Jaime Murphy met and began dating about three years ago.
"It was just like I'd know her my whole life," said Murphy.
About six months later, Vice decided she wanted to live off base with Murphy like a normal couple.
"We wanted to be a family," said Murphy.
But since Vice couldn't afford it, she found Jeremiah Griffin, a straight Marine on base who agreed to marry her so she could begin receiving the $1,200 per month living stipend the Marine Corps gives to married heterosexual couples living off base.
A year and a half later, Murphy did the same thing and married Camp Pendleton Marine Joseph Garner.
On February 1, Vice was questioned, and two weeks ago, serious military charges were handed down to her and the other two Marines involved.
"I honestly didn't even try to hide it ... I just said this is what's going on. They asked me who Jaime is ... I told them," said Vice.
"There's no conspiracy here ... there's no we're trying to steal from anybody. We just wanted to be together and she wanted to serve her country," said Murphy.
The three Marines involved now owe about $75,000 back to the government. They will likely serve at least a year in the brig at Miramar, when they're sentenced sometime in the next several weeks, since none of them have the funds to pay the government back.
"If I knew I was going to be facing a year of jail time, we would have probably found some other way," said Vice.
"Was it worth it, what you did?" asked Phillips.
"Yeah, I would say yeah. To be able to be with her everyday and live our lives," said Murphy.
"Somewhat like a normal couple," added Vice.
10News tried to reach the Marine Corps and its legal team for comment, but neither party has responded.
In addition to jail time, Vice said she will likely be demoted in rank from corporal to private, something she worked extremely hard to achieve.
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