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Veterans Administration - Criminal Investigations

Hired hit man uses altered military history
A Veteran was sentenced to 366 days incarceration and 3 years probation for making false statements, theft, and wearing unauthorized military medals after an OIG investigation determined that the Veteran testified in a murder for hire case, as the hired hit man, and used his altered military history to bolster his credibility. The Veteran fraudulently received VA benefits by altering and forging various military records, to include his DD-214. The Veteran claimed to have been wounded in combat and to having earned several medals of valor, to include the Purple Heart and Silver Star. The loss to VA is $95,088.
Source: Semi-Annual report to Congress
Non-Veteran Pleads Guilty to Theft in "Stolen Valor" Case
A non-veteran pled guilty to theft of Government funds after having fraudulently received VA pension and health care benefits. The defendant claimed to have been a U.S. Marine for 12 years and to have served in Vietnam. An OIG investigation determined the defendant was incarcerated in three different state prisons, under a different name, during the time he was allegedly a Marine. The loss to VA is approximately $45,000 in pension benefits and approximately $200,000 in health care benefits.
North Carolina Veteran Sentenced in "Stolen Valor" Investigation
A Veteran was sentenced to 6 months incarceration, 2 years probation, and ordered to pay $65,956 in restitution after pleading guilty to theft of Government property. An OIG investigation determined that the defendant submitted a fraudulent DD-214 in order to receive VA benefits. The defendant fraudulently claimed to have received the Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon, and a Good Conduct Medal while reportedly serving in Korea during the Korean War. The Veteran never served in Korea during the Korean War.
Source: VA Criminal Investigations
Veteran Indicted for Stolen Valor Fraud
A Veteran was charged in a superseding indictment with Stolen Valor and false statements after an OIG investigation determined that he submitted a fraudulent DD-214 to the Disabled American Veterans purportedly reflecting his receipt of the Medal of Honor. The document was subsequently forwarded to a VA Regional Office (VARO) in support of the Veterans pending appeal for an increase in his VA disability benefits. Several months after submitting the fraudulent document, the Veteran also telephonically contacted the VARO to request that his records be changed to reflect that he was a Medal of Honor recipient. Former Philadelphia VAMC Employees
Source: VA Criminal Investigations
Veteran Arrested for Theft of VA Funds
A Veteran was arrested for theft of Government funds, false statements, and false claims about receipt of military decorations as the result of an OIG investigation. The investigation, which was initiated based on information obtained from a Stolen Valor website, revealed that in 1979 the defendant falsified military paperwork when he transferred from the Navy to the Coast Guard by adding a Silver Star, Bronze Star, five Purple Hearts, Navy Seal Trident, and numerous other medals of valor and badges to his Navy discharge paperwork. While on active duty in the Coast Guard for 11 years, the defendant represented himself as having earned these awards and military badges. The defendant subsequently used the same falsified military discharge paperwork to apply for VA compensation benefits. The loss to VA is approximately $13,000.
Source: VA Criminal Investigations
Defendant Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Benefits
A defendant pled guilty to an indictment charging him with theft of Government funds and Stolen Valor. An OIG and U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service investigation determined that the defendant obtained fraudulent DD-214s early in his 20-year career with the Navy and Coast Guard. The defendant represented himself as a Navy Seal who received multiple medals for valor for over 10 years while serving in the Coast Guard. Upon retirement, the defendant provided fraudulent DD-214s to VA when applying for benefits claiming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and lied extensively about combat exposure during mental health evaluations. The loss to VA is $13,923.
Source: VA Criminal Investigations
Veteran Convicted of Stolen Valor Fraud
A Veteran was convicted at trial for making a false claim of being awarded the Medal of Honor and making a false statement. An OIG investigation revealed that the Veteran falsely represented that he had been awarded the Medal of Honor, in violation of the Stolen Valor Act, and fraudulently provided false information to a VARO in an attempt to increase his VA benefit payments.
Veteran Indicted for Stolen Valor
A Veteran was arrested after being indicted for theft of Government funds. An OIG investigation determined that the defendant submitted a fraudulent Purple Heart certificate to VA in order to support his claim for VA compensation benefits. The loss to VA is approximately $24,000.
Source: VA Criminal Investigations
VA Employee Indicted for Stolen Valor
A VA employee was indicted for Stolen Valor fraud and theft of Government funds after an OIG investigation revealed that he submitted counterfeit documents and false statements to the U.S. Air Force indicating he was wounded while serving in Vietnam. Based upon the counterfeit documents and false statements, the U.S. Air Force awarded the employee a Purple Heart. The employee used the fraudulently obtained Purple Heart and a self-inflicted gunshot wound, received 20 years after his military service, to obtain compensation benefits from VA. The loss to VA is approximately $200,000.

Date added: June 22, 2010

Victim of a Phony SEAL speaks out

Read her story here (PDF)

Date added: November 27, 2011

Shameful example of an obvious fake

Date added: April 06, 2012

Summerville, SC man admits fabricating his service in the Navy

Les Agro
A Summerville electrician who claimed to be a member of the Navy's elite SEAL commando team and a participant in the 1991 liberation of Kuwait today admitted his account was false.

Les Agro admitted he made up the story up and had been telling it for as long as eight years. "I wanted to be more than I am," he said during a telephone interview this morning.

Source: icating-story-about-his/
Date added: December 14, 2010

Fake war hero gets 24 years in prison after defrauding women of $255,000

Derek Mylan Alldred
In an extensive case of stolen valor and fraud, a man in Minnesota now faces a heavy prison sentence.

Derek Mylan Alldred, 47, was sentenced by a federal court to 24 years in prison after he pled guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identify fraud, Kare 11 News reported Wednesday. Along with the prison sentence, Alldred is ordered to pay $255,000 in restitution.

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 imposes possible fines and a prison sentence of up to one year for individuals who fraudulently represent themselves as a recipient of the Purple Heart, Silver Star or other significant combat awards for the purpose of obtaining money, goods or other benefits.
Date added: August 25, 2018

Man convicted of falsely claiming Medal of Honor

Xavier Alvarez
"...Xavier Alvarez of Pomona, Calif., pleaded guilty to violating the 2005 Stolen Valor Act. In doing so, he acknowledged that he had falsely claimed to have been awarded the nation's highest decoration for valor and, in fact, had never served in the U.S. military..."

"...'I'm a retired Marine of 25 years,' Alvarez told the group. 'I retired in the year 2001. Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional [sic] Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy. I'm still around.'"
Air Force Times
Date added: June 23, 2010

SEAL faker pleads guilty in Stolen Valor case

Thomas Barnhart
Website: Navy Times article - CG retiree gets year for faking SEAL past

"A retired Coast Guard chief warrant officer 2 who claimed to be a decorated and combat-hardened SEAL and managed to get a disability rating from the government has pleaded guilty to wearing combat awards he did not earn.

Thomas Barnhart pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Roanoke, Va. to two counts of violating the Stolen Valor Act."

Date added: June 23, 2010

Faker apologizes on blog

Sean Beery
Sean Beery, the director of Volusia County Gun and Hunt Club down in Florida. On his website (now removed), he presented himself as: a Ranger-qualified scout sniper who jumped into Panama and led reconnaissance and infantry platoons

View his actual records

His apology

Comment on page:
What the hell, why does this guy need to make stuff up? He has a record that would make many envious...

Date added: December 20, 2011

Queen Creek man sentenced for false military claims

Kurt Alan Bishop
A former chaplain indicted for making false claims about his military honors and training has been sentenced to 60 months of probation and ordered to pay about $28,000 in restitution.

Date added: December 05, 2010

Candidate's Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History

Richard Blumenthal
from the NY Times:
Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.
Additional source: Huffington Post article
Date added: June 21, 2010

Heartbreaking war tales sometimes mask VA fraud

Joshua Stephen Bork
Thanks to a tip submitted on the website, Joshua Stephen Bork was convicted of fraud. After this article was published, an Agent from the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, notified the Stolen Valor team Bork was convicted and sentenced to 18 months. His wife was also convicted and will most likely receive probation.
Date added: June 08, 2014

SEAL faker: "I was trying to help out vets"

Andrew Irvin Bryson
SAN DIEGO --It was a story that captured the attention of the crowd: A Navy SEAL wounded in an attack managed to cut down insurgents who had killed his three teammates when their post was overrun in Afghanistan.

But Andrew Irvin Bryson's heroics and credentials - including a Purple Heart and Combat Action Ribbon - hailed and recounted at the April 6, 2010, ceremony led by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in front of hundreds of veterans who received the Louisiana Veterans' Honor Medal just weren't true.

Date added: October 28, 2011

Man Posing As Navy SEAL Sentenced To Federal Prison

William J. Burley
A California man who falsely claimed to be a Navy SEAL to defraud non-profit organizations got sentenced to federal prison this week. The imposter, 36-year-old William J. Burley, was sentenced to three years in prison followed by another three years of supervised release.
Date added: March 12, 2017

Marine impostor sentenced for wearing uniform, medals

Steven Douglas Burton
Burton pleaded guilty in December to violating a federal law prohibiting the unauthorized wearing of a U.S. military uniform. The medals that he wore on his uniform included the Navy Cross, authorities said.

Additional details from The Smoking Gun

Date added: June 22, 2010

Treasurer of Fake US Navy Vets Charity Sentenced

Blanca Contreras
The treasurer of a bogus charity that collected millions under the guise of helping military veterans was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday by an Ohio judge.

Blanca Contreras -- one of the few real people in an organization of made-up identities that was the U.S. Navy Veterans Association -- siphoned off more than $450,000 of the money raised by telephone solicitors working for the group, prosecutors said.

The nonprofit group is being investigated by federal authorities and about a half-dozen states, including Virginia.

Still at large is the group's leader, who went by the stolen identity of Bobby Thompson. Thompson was charged along with Contreras in October but so far has eluded arrest.

Date added: August 14, 2011

Jackson Lab official resigns Warren Cook Sr. admits to including false listings on resume

Warren Cook, Sr.
BAR HARBOR - Warren Cook Sr. has resigned from The Jackson Laboratory after admitting he falsely listed the prestigious Navy Cross as a military accomplishment on his job resume.

Cook, vice president of government relations and special projects at the world-famous research lab, resigned on Saturday after the Bangor Daily News ran a story about what Cook called an "innocent mistake" on his resume.

On Monday, he characterized the Navy Cross listing on his resume as "a lie" and further admitted he did not earn a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, as his resume also states.
In 2003, Warren C. Cook was Vice President of Government Relations and Special Projects at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. Cook had been an executive with The Jackson Laboratory since late 1998. He was once the owner and CEO of Sugarloaf/USA ski resort and the President and CEO of Chemfab Corporation. Cook had been previously appointed co-chair of Maine Governor John Baldacci's Transition Advisory Council when the Governor took office. He sat on several non-profit boards. In fact, Cook had been correctly recognized as one of Maine's leading business figures. However, his curriculum vitae at the time stated that Cook earned a Master's Degree from the University of Massachusetts, was awarded the prestigious Navy Cross for his service in Vietnam, and was part of the 1968 U.S. Olympic hockey team. The only problem is that these claims were false. While Mr. Cook's professional career was indeed impressive, he resigned from The Jackson Laboratory on September 29, 2003 after admitting he lied on his resumé about the masters degree from UMass, receiving the Navy Cross and playing on the 1968 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Cook is currently a Director of the non-profit Northern Forest Center and still sits on the boards of a number of other educational and charitable institutions in Maine.
Source: Marquet Int'l Ltd.

Other sources:

Date added: August 02, 2011

Hes Gone Above and Beyond: Man Claiming To Be a Navy SEAL Exposed as a Fraud After Seemingly Fooling CNN

Brian Leonard Creekmur
Claiming to be "one of the most skilled snipers of his era," Brian Leonard Creekmur has everything you would expect of a retired Navy SEAL. Memorabilia and old uniforms decorate his home, and he even possesses what seem to be the photos and military discharge papers to prove his claim.

Creekmur even managed to fool CNNs Soledad OBrien, it seems, after he tweeted about the all death he witnessed in combat and she re-tweeted to her 140,000+ followers. More significantly, The Daily Mail reports that Creekmur was regularly in contact with the network to offer his so-called expertise on various news stories.
Date added: May 07, 2012

Walter Reed official accused of falsifying military record

Stoney Crump
"Washington (CNN) -- A top military official at Walter Reed Army Medical Center has been relieved of duty and charged with knowingly falsifying his personnel records.

Command Sgt. Maj. Stoney Crump, the senior enlisted officer for the Medical Center Brigade, had the "intent to deceive" when he submitted a false official record incorrectly stating that he had attended several military educational courses, according to the Army charge sheet."

More info: CNN report

Date added: July 25, 2010

Fake Navy SEAL sentenced in federal court

Chad Chan Dieu
"Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. DiGirolamo sentenced Chad Chan Dieu, age 39, of Columbia, Maryland, late yesterday to 10 days in prison, one year probation with mental health treatment, and 100 hours of community service to be served within six months, for purchasing and wearing military uniforms, medals, badges, and decorations to which he was not entitled. Dieu was prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a federal offense to knowingly purchase or wear military medals, badges, or decorations without authority."

Date added: June 27, 2010

Man Allegedly Fakes SEAL Service

Salhem Dreasden
Salhem Dreasden wore a Navy uniform at the Ladera School in Thousand Oaks, the Ventura County Star reported. A number of veterans came to the school Tuesday to honor students and teachers for their support of the troops.

After questions were raised about Dreasden's service on a community forum site for special operations, his status was checked with the Navy Personnel Command in Tennessee. A spokeswoman said there was no record of a Salhem Dreasden or S. Dreasden serving in the Navy in the past 50 years.

Date added: June 07, 2011

Fake Vietnam vet from Oroville pleads guilty and is sentenced

Michael Allan Fraser
FRASER pleaded guilty and was immediately sentenced on charges that he violated the newly enacted Stolen Valor Act, a misdemeanor, which was signed into law by President Bush on December 20, 2006.

During sentencing, Judge Brennan told the defendant that this case exemplified the phrase "Those who do, do. And those who don't, talk about it."

This case was the product of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Butte County Sheriff's Office.<

Date added: June 27, 2010

Veteran who faked hero status sentenced to jail

Raymond Gauthier
A 72-year-old veteran convicted for creating a bogus document of military awards and honors to obtain a Prisoner of War license plate was sentenced Tuesday to 90 days in the Collier County jail for violating his probation.

Circuit Judge Fred Hardt ordered Raymond Gauthier, formerly of East Naples, to surrender at 6 p.m. Friday to serve his sentence after finding him guilty of violating his probation by possessing another phony DD-214, a military form used to apply for a POW license plate and discount as a war veteran.

Date added: June 27, 2010

Marine faker claiming Vietnam service convicted

Michael Hamilton
GREENVILLE, N.C. - A man accused of lying about Vietnam-era combat and collecting $30,000 in compensation has been convicted in federal court in North Carolina.

A jury found Michael Hamilton, 68, guilty of false statement to the government, larceny of government property, unauthorized wearing of a military uniform and unauthorized wearing of Congressionally authorized military medals, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney's office.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 9. Hamilton faces up to 16 years in prison and $600,000 in fines.

Authorities said Hamilton told Veterans Affairs officials that he saw combat in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. He was accused of taking more than $30,000 in veteran's benefits for service-related ailments, and with appearing at a veteran's ceremony in Jacksonville dressed as a highly decorated Marine colonel.

Date added: October 28, 2011

Group exposes fake SEAL

George Hardy
"...George Hardy, an assistant director of the company's executive security detail - Wal-Mart's equivalent of the Secret Service -- was recently exposed as a phony SEAL after a tip from a co-worker..."

Date added: June 22, 2010

Texas Revokes Late Senator's Hero Status

Charles Ferguson Herring
"EL PASO -- Charles Ferguson Herring, a former state senator and U.S. attorney, no longer will be proclaimed a war hero by the state of Texas.

All references to combat valor were stripped Thursday from Herring's online biography at the Texas State Cemetery. The action came after its officials received military records contradicting Herring's claims of heroism during World War II.

Herring said he received the Navy Cross, a decoration for valor second only to the Medal of Honor; three Purple Hearts, each indicating combat injuries; and a Bronze Star, although not for valor. The biography also stated Herring left the Navy as a lieutenant commander.

The record shows that Herring received no awards for combat valor or for being wounded. It makes no mention of a Bronze Star for service in a war zone. And it shows he left the Navy Reserve as a lieutenant junior grade, two ranks below lieutenant commander, after 10 years of service. "

Date added: July 08, 2010

Bill Hillar: Green Beret impersonator gets 21 months

Bill Hillar
Speaker and instructor Bill Hillar was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Hillar falsely claimed to have served as a special forces colonel and taught counterterrorism and human trafficking interdiction.

BALTIMORE  For years, William Hillar's tales about his exploits as an Army Green Beret and a puffed up resume helped him land jobs teaching counterterrorism and drug and human trafficking interdiction, but the scheme has now earned him 21 months in federal prison.

Hillar, 66, of Millersville, pleaded guilty to wire fraud earlier this year and was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court. He must pay $170,000 in restitution to the law enforcement and first responder organizations and schools that hired him believing that he had spent 28 years in the U.S. Special Forces, reaching the rank of colonel. He must also perform 500 community service hours at Maryland's veteran cemeteries.

Date added: October 28, 2011

Millersville Man Sentenced for Posing as a Retired Army Special Forces Colonel

William G. Hillar
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced William G. Hillar, age 66, of Millersville, Maryland, today to 21 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud in connection with a scheme to lie about his military experience and academic credentials in order to gain employment for teaching and training. Judge Quarles also ordered Hillar to pay restitution of $171,415 and perform 500 community hours at the Maryland State Veterans Cemeteries.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service - Mid-Atlantic Field Office.

"William G. Hillar claimed that he had earned praise as a hero, but the truth is that he deserves condemnation as a liar," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "He did not serve in the U.S. Army, did not receive military training in counter-terrorism and psychological warfare, and did not lose his daughter to sex traffickers."

Date added: August 31, 2011

Man who profited from fabricated military career gets 21-month sentence

William G. Hillar
William G. Hillar billed himself as a hero and a patriot, a 28-year veteran of the Army Special ­Forces who shared his knowledge of counter-terrorism by holding training sessions for federal agents and local police.

The 66-year-old Millersville man told people that he was an expert in human trafficking and drug trafficking. He said that his daughter had been kidnapped, forced into sex slavery and killed by her captors before he could rescue her. He said the movie "Taken," starring Liam Neeson, was based on that experience.

It was all a lie.

"He was a con artist,"said Rod J. Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for Maryland.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Baltimore sentenced Hillar to 21 months in prison for crimes connected to his fabrication. Prosecutors say Hillar was paid at least $171,415 over more than a decade, beginning in 1998, for speeches and training on counterterrorism, drug trafficking and human trafficking. The FBI, local police and universities hired him for his supposed expertise.

Date added: October 18, 2011

Alleged Phony Colonel Investigated

William G. Hillar
Reputed counter-terrorism expert pleads guilty

Feb 1, 2011 Indictment

Military Times article

"Colonel in Special Forces -- only in his dreams," said Jeff "J.D." Hinton, a retired Army Special Forces Soldier who began investigating Hillar more than a year ago after hearing there were problems with his background. Hinton immediately began copying images of Hillar's website and other sites in which Hillar's expertise and background were featured. Using personal connections in the Army Special Forces community as well as official channels, Hinton began exposing the holes in Hillar's background on his own website,, in October.

There is no record of a William G. Hillar in any Special Forces outfit -- ever -- says Hinton.

Date added: December 26, 2010

Veteran Sentenced in "Stolen Valor" Case

Office of Inspector General
A veteran was sentenced to 366 days' incarceration and 3 years' probation for making false statements, theft, and wearing unauthorized military medals after an OIG investigation determined that the veteran testified as the hired hit man in a murder for hire case and used his altered military history to bolster his credibility.

The veteran fraudulently received VA benefits by altering and forging various military records, to include his DD-214. The veteran claimed to have been wounded in combat and to having earned several medals of valor, to include the Purple Heart and Silver Star. The loss to VA was $95,088.
Date added: June 29, 2010

Texas man faked way into Army

Jesse Bernard Johnston III
"If it's proven that Johnston gained his Army rank based on a phony Marine record, it would be the first documented case of so-called "stolen valor" in which the military was duped during the enlistment process, according to watchdogs of such fraud. Most cases involve attempts to get veterans' benefits or other forms of financial gain. Congress attempted to crack down on military impostors in 2005 by passing a law that makes it a crime to claim false decorations or medals."

The National Personnel Records Center, which collects information on all who have been discharged from the military, informed the AP that it could find no evidence that Johnston ever served.

Date added: July 11, 2010

Sterling Business Owner Sentenced for Claiming to be Minority, Service-Disabled Veteran Operated Business

Tyrone Jones
BOSTON  A Sterling, Mass. man was sentenced yesterday in United States District Court in Worcester for conspiring to defraud the Small Business Administration and other government contractors by falsely representing that his business was a minority and service-disabled veteran-owned and operated business.

Tyrone Jones, 48, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Hillman to one year and one day in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Jones was also ordered to forfeit $399,000. In August 2012, Jones pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Date added: August 12, 2013

Top-level A&M official resigns amid questions over credentials

Alexander Kemos
" ...Alexander Kemos never was part of the elite fighting force, and Texas A&M officials confirmed Friday that he doesn't have a doctorate or even a master's degree, which was a posted requirement for the $300,000-a-year position..."

Update July 1, 2010:
Loftin details Kemos betrayal
Date added: July 01, 2010

Altoona Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Lying About Military Record and Honors to Obtain VA Health Care Benefits

Jeffrey Scott Kepler
March 14, 2013

DES MOINES, IA - On March 14, 2013, Jeffrey Scott Kepler, age 53, of Altoona, Iowa, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Jarvey to one year and one day in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt.

Kepler pleaded guilty on September 7, 2012, to federal charges of health care fraud. As part of his plea agreement, Kepler admitted to submitting a false United States Department of Defense form, known as a DD Form 214, Certificate of Release And Discharge From Active Duty, to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Des Moines in August 2007, in which he falsely represented his military service in an effort to fraudulently obtain VA medical benefits to which he was not entitled. Between 2007 and 2010, Kepler received over $100,000 in VA health care benefits for which he was not eligible. He also attempted to obtained VA disability benefits to which he was not entitled, but was caught.

Kepler only served in the United States Army for 27 days in 1986, when he was honorably discharged for not meeting medical fitness standards. He received no promotions, awards, or commendations, and was never in combat, and did not serve in the military long enough to earn veterans benefits. In the false DD Form 214, Kepler falsely claimed to have served in the Army for 2 years, 11 months, and 23 days between January 1977 and August 1979, portraying himself as an Airborne Ranger, who qualified for Officer Candidate School, and a war hero, who had been awarded numerous Army medals, including the Silver Star, and twice awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Kepler also admitted in court that he had acquired military memorabilia over the years, including various crests, insignia, badges, ribbons, clothing, medals, awards, and military tatoos, which he used from time-to-time to falsely represent himself to individuals and the American Legion as a decorated, Army combat veteran. As part of the plea agreement, Kepler consented to forfeiting or adandoning these items to the United States.
Date added: August 12, 2013

Senior NCO Busted for Unauthorized Medals

John Letuli
A senior noncommissioned officer with the North Carolina National Guard will be leaving the service a stripe lighter as a result of a Guard and Army investigation into his wearing unauthorized unit patches, tabs, decorations and badges.

Officials would not offer details on the actions of former Command Sgt. Maj. John Letuli, but a retired Green Beret who had been pressuring for the investigation since September 2009 said he is outraged that the Guard and the Army appear to be letting Letuli retire with just "a slap on the wrist."

Date added: November 29, 2010

Former Mayor Pleads Guilty to Receiving Veterans Benefits Despite Having Not Served

Robert A. Livingston Livingston
The former mayor of Lakeland, MN, Robert A. Livingston, pleaded guilty in federal court in St. Paul Wednesday for making false demands against the United States.
Date added: December 26, 2017

Former sailor accused of pretending to be Navy SEAL

Felipe Luna-Gonzalez Luna-Gonzalez
GRANBURY  Police set up a sting operation Saturday to award a man they say was falsely claiming to be an active-duty Navy SEAL with a "firearm of appreciation" before arresting him on charges of impersonating a ranking officer. Weatherford-Parker County special investigators worked with the Texas Rangers to arrest Carlos Felipe Luna-Gonzalez, 29, three days before Veterans Day.
Date added: November 28, 2014

The VA says it's in the midst of a crackdown on phony military heroes.

Jesse Adam Macbeth
Despite never making it out of basic training, Macbeth sought medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, claiming he suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his service as an Army Ranger in both Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. He also claimed he had been awarded a Purple Heart. Macbeth pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five months in prison, four of which he has already served, three months in a halfway house and three years probation on Friday. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General)
Date added: June 22, 2010

Sailor Gets 34 Years in Prison in Espionage Case

Bryan Minkyu Martin
May 23, 2011

NORFOLK -- Bryan Minkyu Martin, the Navy intelligence specialist convicted of attempted espionage, said Friday that he was "blinded by greed" when he sold classified documents to a man he believed was a Chinese spy.

A military judge Friday sentenced Martin to 34 years in prison a day after he pleaded guilty to 11 charges. The judge also issued Martin a dishonorable discharge.

Just before being sentenced at the military court at Norfolk Naval Station, prosecutors played about three hours of surveillance tape showing Martin and a man he knew only as Mr. Lee, actually an undercover FBI agent, exchanging cash for classified information on four occasions last year at motels near Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Date added: May 24, 2011

Phony War Hero Sentenced for Damaging the 'Prestige' of Decorated Service Members

Louis Lowell McGuinn
A New York City man, who was exposed for wearing an impressive array of distinguished service decorations he did not earn, was sentenced today for the "likely damage" he caused "to the prestige" of the men and women who have rightly earned service medals.

Louis Lowell McGuinn, 68, was sentenced today to one year of probation and 100 hours of community service. Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox said he considered the "likely damage the defendant caused to the prestige" of those who legitimately earned the medals and chose the community service portion of the sentence to "redress damage to the community because of the defendant's misconduct."

Date added: June 27, 2010

Jailed Veteran gets new VA benefits, wants sentenced reduced

Randall Moneymaker
Not only did he lie about his military service, federal prosecutors say, but he also claimed to have received medals and decorations that were never awarded to him.

Randall Moneymaker, who talked his way into a job as an Army recruiter in Roanoke and Christiansburg, then landed in federal prison when his false stories of wartime trauma caught up with him, said he has again qualified for veterans disability benefits.

Date added: July 06, 2010

Fake Medal earns man mental health treatment

Kenneth Jerome Nelson
"Kenneth Jerome Nelson, who perpetuated an elaborate fraud for 20 years as the volunteer caretaker of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Capitol Park, was sentenced Monday in federal court to mental health treatment as part of a year's probation...

"...According to a Military Times article last year, Nelson enlisted in 1977, but was released after less than two months from boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego."

Date added: July 01, 2010

War Memorial Caretaker Sentenced for Faking Medals

Kenneth Nelson
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A man who was known as the unofficial caretaker of Sacramento's Vietnam Veterans Memorial has been ordered to undergo mental health treatment for wearing a military medal that he didn't earn.

Prosecutors say 60-year-old Kenneth Nelson claimed for 20 years that he was a Vietnam War hero, though he never saw combat. They say Nelson wore a Silver Star, the military's third-highest decoration, and claimed to have received three Purple Hearts.

Nelson was prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a misdemeanor to wear the fake medals. He pleaded guilty in December.

A judge sentenced Nelson on Monday to a year of probation in addition to mental health treatment.

The defense argued that Nelson was nevertheless devoted to the Capitol Park memorial, keeping the site in good condition.

Date added: June 23, 2010

Highly decorated Marine impostor sentenced

Angel Ocasio-Reyes
A man who pretended to be a highly decorated Marine will serve three years of probation, including 120 hours of volunteer work, probably in the service of veterans.

"I really admire the military," Angel Ocasio-Reyes, 49, said before he was sentenced today for three federal misdemeanor charges under the Stolen Valor Act. "I never meant to hurt anyone."

Ocasio-Reyes, of Lutz, bought a beribboned Marine master gunnery sergeant uniform at an Army Navy surplus store in New York and paid a friend $25 for a DD Form 214, an official military discharge document, showing Navy service. He altered the form, typing in his address and a slew of medals and decorations, including the Navy Cross, making it appear as though he served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was injured in combat.

Date added: June 23, 2010

Honored Iraq veteran is found fabricating stories.

Angelo Otchy
"The 35-year-old Army veteran told a reporter that day about his three tours of duty in Iraq. Voice dropping to a near-hush, he spoke, too, about the buried bomb that ripped through his Humvee, injuring him and claiming the lives of three friends, one of them a soldier from Paterson.

"I'm haunted by that day every day of my life," Otchy told The Star-Ledger.

But Otchy wasn't in that Humvee. He was at home in New Jersey when the soldiers died. And he didnt serve three tours of duty in Iraq. He served half of one tour before he was sent back to the States for extended rest and relaxation.

A Star-Ledger examination of Otchy's claims - including a review of Army records and interviews with military officials, members of his battalion and the blasted Humvee's lone survivor - show the Verona man fabricated his story."

Date added: August 02, 2010

Stamford man charged with wearing unearned military markings

Damian Pace
"STAMFORD -- Damian Pace wanted to "look cool," he told the criminal investigator from the U.S. Department of Defense last fall.

That's the reason Pace, who never finished his military training or served overseas, gave for occasionally wearing U.S. Army uniforms, complete with badges meant for combat veterans and soldiers with specialized training.

That's also why Pace, a 22-year-old Stamford resident and failed Army recruit, is being accused of violating the Stolen Valor Act..."

Date added: June 27, 2010

Construction Company Owner indicted in KCK court for lying about military status

Warren K. Parker
The owner of a Missouri construction company has been indicted on charges of defrauding a federal program that sets aside federal contracts for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

...he falsely claimed to have reached the rank of major in the U.S. Army, completed three tours in Vietnam, to have been awarded three Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, four Bronze Stars with Valor, eleven Air Medals with Valor (claiming 300 hours of combat air time), three Purple Heart Medals, a Presidential Citation, a U.S. Army Citation, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Vietnam Service Medal with (79) Battle Stars and to have been Awarded over (32) Citations for Heroism.

According to federal records, Parker served five years in the Missouri National Guard, never left the state of Missouri on active duty and was honorably discharged in 1968 as a Senior Engineer Equipment Mechanic with the rank of Specialist E-5.The only decoration he received was an expert shooting badge.

Warren K. Parker was never classified as a service-disabled veteran by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs VA or the Department of Defense.

Date added: June 20, 2011

Construction Company Owner Sentenced For Defrauding Service Disabled Set Aside Program

Warren K. Parker
November 5, 2012

KANSAS CITY, KAN.  The owner of a Missouri construction company has been sentenced to 87 months in federal prison for defrauding a federal program that set aside contracts for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Warren K. Parker, 70, Blue Springs, Mo., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States, one count of major program fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of making a false statement.

In his plea, Parker admitted he falsely claimed to be a service-disabled veteran and a war hero in order to obtain more than $6.7 million in contracts from the Veterans Administration and more than $748,000 in contracts from the Department of Defense. The contracts were awarded under the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program.

After an extensive investigation, federal agents determined that Parker and his company, Silver Star Construction LLC of Blue Springs, Mo., and Stilwell, Kan., fraudulently claimed Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business status in order to obtain federal government contracts. In fact, Parker never was classified as a service-disabled veteran by the Veterans Administration or the Department of Defense.

In March 2011, Parker submitted a fraudulent resume in which he manufactured a history as a war hero, including a record of service in Vietnam, claiming he was awarded three Silver Stars, three Purple Heart Medals and other citations. State and federal records show that Parker served in the Missouri National Guard from 1963 to 1968, he spent six months on active duty. In 1968 he was honorably discharged as a Senior Engineer Equipment Mechanic with the rank of Specialist E-5. His only decoration was an expert rifle badge. He never left the state of Missouri while on active duty or while assigned to the Missouri National Guard.

Parker pleaded guilty to the forfeiture counts of the indictment which will result in a $6.8 million judgment being entered against him in favor of the United States. He also agreed the immediate forfeiture of personal property, including a notebook Parker labeled "Book of Death" which contained list of fictitious Vietnam war "sniper kills."
Date added: August 12, 2013

VA employee also accused of taking $180,000 in benefits

David M. Perelman
"A Veterans Affairs employee from Las Vegas was indicted this week in a case of stolen valor and stolen benefits.

The case against David M. Perelman, who claimed to have received a Purple Heart medal, is the first known prosecution in Nevada under the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, which outlawed false claims of military honor. According to the indictment, Perelman claimed he had been wounded in combat in Vietnam, when in fact he had been wounded by a self-inflicted gunshot in 1991."

Date added: July 06, 2010

Fake Military Honor Earns Cop Community Service

Eric Piotrowski
SACRAMENTO - A state fair police officer must do community service for falsely claiming that he earned a military award for gallantry in combat while he was in the Marine Corps.

Eric Piotrowski, an officer with Cal Expo in Sacramento, was convicted in federal court under the Stolen Valor Act.

Prosecutors say the 41-year-old bought a Silver Star over the Internet in 2007 and claimed he earned it for service during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. Piotrowski, a Marine veteran, didn't see military action during that war.

The Silver Star is the nation's third-highest military decoration.

The federal judge on Tuesday ordered Piotrowski to do 200 hours of community service at a veteran's hospital. He also was sentenced to 12 months' probation and placed under a lifetime ban from law enforcement.

Date added: June 27, 2010

Phony veterans try to cash in on VA benefits

Larry Porter
"Based on his claims, Porter, who served in the Navy for 15 months in the 1970s, obtained $134,000 in VA disability benefits and $40,000 from the Social Security Administration from 1999 to 2006.

It all turned out to be false. Porter is in a jail cell serving a three-year sentence, and was forced to repay all money he accepted from VA and Social Security.

Justice Department officials in Washington state detailed Porter's story, along with seven other people accused of - or already convicted of - being military frauds, during a news conference Friday on VA fakers.

'We take it seriously because this money is meant for veterans, not for fakers,' James O'Neill, assistant inspector general for the VA's office of investigations, told Military Times."

Date added: July 11, 2010

Scottsdale Man found guilty of faking Marine service

John W. Rodriguez
"A Scottsdale man who pretended to be a decorated Marine was found guilty Monday on 12 fraud-related counts in Maricopa County Superior Court.

John W. Rodriguez, 31, was convicted by a jury on charges of forgery, fraudulent schemes and presentation of a false instrument for filing."

Date added: July 13, 2010

Ex-Scottsdale man who posed as military hero to be sentenced

John Rodriguez
Scottsdale man who posed as Marine gets 7.5 years in prison

"...Rodriguez, 31, was never in the Marines but had spent years passing himself off as a war hero, gaining access to military bases, getting discounted airline tickets, going to the Marine Corps Ball and briefly getting a job with a local health-care provider that gave him access to sensitive information on veterans.

Rodriguez, a former Scottsdale resident, was convicted this month of 12 felony counts of fraud and forgery, most of which carry a presumptive sentence of two to five years in prison. Rodriguez's attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Date added: July 28, 2010

Prosecutors: Fort Gordon suspect was make-believe soldier

Anthony Todd Saxon
" ...Saxon is not the U.S. Army master sergeant that he pretended to be. He hasn't served in the Armed Forces since he was discharged from the Florida National Guard in 1994. But authorities say he visited Fort Gordon in eastern Georgia at least 10 times in the last few months..." Source:
Date added: June 22, 2010

Man Posing as Soldier Sentenced to Prison

Anthony Todd Saxon
May 24, 2011
Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. - After the Army discharged him 17 years ago for a heart condition, Anthony Todd Saxon so desperately wanted to keep serving that he bought a combat uniform and fooled troops at Fort Gordon and his family into believing he remained in the ranks.

Saxon, 36, insisted Monday he meant no harm when he went to the base last year and posed as a master sergeant, saying he was driven by a lifelong desire to serve his country that got cut short after just three years when the Florida National Guard dismissed him in 1994.

"I want to apologize for dishonoring the U.S. Army by impersonating a soldier," Saxon said at his sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Augusta. "It's a very big issue to me. It was very hard for me to let go."

Despite delivering a lengthy apology, Saxon was sentenced to four years and nine months in federal prison.

Date added: May 24, 2011

Former Marine's Navy Cross Claim False

David J. Searight
A former Marine who cited lofty military honors when he was spared prison at his sentencing in Niagara County Court two weeks ago may soon find himself in more legal trouble for lying about battlefield decorations.

David J. Searight, 40, of Adam Street, City of Tonawanda, claimed to have been awarded the Navy Cross and two Purple Hearts for service in the Middle East. But the Marine Corps Times in Springfield, Va., has determined that Searight was never awarded the Navy Cross, the highest award given by the Navy for valor and second only to the Medal of Honor.

Date added: May 28, 2011

Discharged soldier to change plea in federal Stolen Valor, wire fraud case

Skyler Tarquin Smith
"Smith pleaded not guilty on March 11 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Harwell Davis in Huntsville. Davis released him on bond in early March, not long after Smith was arrested by federal officials outside American Legion Post 237 where he thought he was about be inducted into the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

When arrested, Smith was reportedly wearing two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, a Combat Infantry Badge, a Senior Parachutist Badge and an Air Assault Badge.

To wear war medals not actually earned is a violation of the Stolen Valor Act."

Date added: July 11, 2010

Soldier washed out of BUD/S but wore Trident

Douglas Donald Sofranko
"Second Lt. Douglas Sofranko has spent the last year impressing his fellow soldiers in the Florida Army National Guard with stories of his days as a Navy SEAL, while proudly wearing the distinctive Trident insignia on his Army uniform. He even had the SEAL Creed hung on the wall of his office.

The problem is, it was all a lie."

Update: Guard officer exposed

Date added: August 09, 2010

Veteran sentenced to two years in prison for lying to obtain disability benefits

July 18, 2013
Raleigh, North Carolina - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court today Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever sentenced ANTHONY PATRICK STANFORD, 39, of Fayetteville, NC, to 24 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, upon conviction for Making Material False Statements to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, and Making Material False Statements to the Social Security Administration (SSA), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. Chief Judge Dever further ordered STANFORD to pay restitution of $519,293.07 to the VA and $7,575.30 to the SSA.
Date added: August 12, 2013

Elvin Joe Swisher's Criminal Conviction and Sentence Recommendation

Elven Joe Swisher
"On April 11, 2008, former U.S. Marine PFC Elven Joe Swisher was convicted on all charges against him (wearing unauthorized medals, perjury by making false statements, forgery by falsifying his discharge documents and theft by receiving veterans benefits without entitlement)."

""The lie," the News reported, was that "Swisher claimed he was a Korean War hero who took part in highly classified, secret missions to free U.S. prisoners of war. He claimed to have earned the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Medal with Gold Star, and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Bronze 'V.'"

He also, falsely claimed being on an expeditionary force to free POWs in North Korea and that he sustained multiple shrapnel and gunshot wounds while in Korea (September 1955). In his June 2004 VA hearing to obtain benefits, he testified under oath and claimed to be suffering from combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder from the alleged 1955 combat in Korea. To bolster his account, Swisher wrote a book: A Marine Remembers: chronicling his fictitious experiences which quoted from the movie The Sands of Iwo Jima to give his story apparent authenticity.

The reality was that he served in the Marine Corps on active duty from 1954 to 1957 (all after the resolution of the Korean War). He was never assigned to nor traveled in Korea. His rank and training would have prohibited him from serving on an expeditionary force reserved for Green Berets. During his tour, he was demoted from Corporal to private first class (PFC) after being court-martialed for disciplinary problems. Finally, he was discharged without distinction of any kind in 1957.
Date added: July 11, 2010

Sailor convicted on 10 counts of wearing medals he had not earned

Dontae L. Tazewell
"A Navy hospital corpsman who claims he rescued six Marines and recovered the bodies of four others during an ambush in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom was convicted Wednesday of wearing ribbons he did not earn.

"...Petty Officer 2nd Class Dontae L. Tazewell was found guilty of 10 of 11 counts of wearing unauthorized ribbons. Some of the honors recognized Tazewell for hero­ism during an ambush on March 28, 2003, earning him the Purple Heart and Bronze Star in July 2006.

On Wednesday, Tazewell's supervisors and others testified at his court-martial that the rescue never happened, painting a picture of a sailor so desperate to stay in the Navy that he concocted honors he did not merit...."

Date added: June 27, 2010

27 months for phony SEAL, phony PTSD

Robert Warren
"A phony SEAL whose bogus post-traumatic stress disorder defrauded the government of more than $280,000 over seven years was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.

"...For years, Warren had purported to be a combat-decorated SEAL. Navy records show otherwise. Warren was a sailor from Feb. 21, 1984, to March 23, 1988. He never was a SEAL. He never saw combat.

Warren "feigned and exaggerated various symptoms and causes of mental and physical illness and disease causing doctors and other health care providers to conclude that the defendant suffered from PTSD," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronda Coleman, who prosecuted the case, told Navy Times. Warren told Veterans Affairs officials his "disability" resulted not from countless incursions as a SEAL but from seeing a fellow crew member aboard the submarine tender Hunley severely burned and electrocuted..."

Date added: June 27, 2010

Weaver guilty of wearing unearned medals

Douglas Lee Weaver
"...According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Birmingham, Weaver knowingly wore the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and the Combat Infantry Badge of U.S. Armed Forces, although he had not been awarded the badges or decorations and was not authorized to wear them..."

Date added: June 23, 2010

Ramona man admits faking status as retired Marine general

David Weber
"A Ramona man who portrayed himself as a retired Marine Corps major general is admitting he was never an officer and has apologized.

David Weber said Monday that he regrets what he did because he has tremendous respect for the service."

..."I don't want to bring any discredit to the Marine Corps, because I love it," Weber said, adding that he didn't want to go into detail about why he falsely held himself as a two-star general.

Weber, 68, was profiled and pictured wearing a general's uniform in the Ramona Sentinel newspaper. The paper was covering a celebration at the town's Veterans of Foreign Wars post...."
Date added: June 27, 2010

Corpsman jailed for unauthorized medal

Robert White

Former chief never officially approved to get Purple Heart

"Whether Robert White was injured in Iraq in 2005 and deserved a Purple Heart makes no difference now.

The chief hospital corpsman wore the award without receiving it through official channels, and in the Navy's eyes, that makes him a faker.

The 19-year sailor, who was selected for advancement to senior chief in March, pleaded guilty on Dec. 16 to the unauthorized wearing of a Purple Heart while he worked at Great Lakes, Ill.

White's military judge sentenced him to 45 days in the brig, busted him down to E-5 and ordered him to forfeit four months of pay."

Date added: July 06, 2010

Veteran pleads guilty to lying about Purple Hearts

Charles T. White
"...In August, Charles T. White told a Navy base newspaper the harrowing story of how the Viet Cong held him prisoner for seven months and, since he was a medic, forced him to treat his comrades.

"If we didn't, we would be killed," White was quoted as saying. The 68-year-old from St. Augustine told the reporter he was given four Purple Heart medals for injuries he suffered in the war.

On Friday, White told a federal judge he made it all up."

Date added: June 27, 2010

'Vet' John Anthony Raymond White found guilty of $16M scam

John Anthony Raymond White
A man claiming to be a disabled vet was convicted Wednesday of ripping off the government for $16 million in federal contracts.

The jury concluded he was always a fraud - and he faces up to 75 years in jail and $3.7 million in fines when sentenced.
Date added: April 21, 2011