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Man pleads guilty to VA benefits fraud charges

On June 27, it was reported that a South Carolina man pleaded guilty in federal court to fraud charges. The 70-year-old Lowcountry man had reportedly falsely claimed to be a Vietnam military veteran.

According to the First Assistant U.S. Attorney, the man had claimed that he served in the Navy as a medic from Aug. 1, 1967 to October 31, 1967. He claimed that he had suffered wounds and other trauma during his service, for which he claimed he was awarded two purple hearts. He ultimately received more than $197,000 in benefits from the Charleston VA.

During an investigation into the man's claims, it was determined that the man had never been in the military. There were no records of his service in the National Personnel Records Center. Further, his forms stated that he had received a Combat Medic Badge, an award that is only given for service in the army, not the navy. Further, he did not list the proper citation for a Purple Heart. Finally, it was also found that he was prosecuted for the same crime in the state of Connecticut in 2005.

Accusations of fraud or other white collar crimes can result in severe consequences. Depending on the amount that was alleged to be stolen, a person could face years in prison, be required to pay a certain amount in restitution and have the convictions go on his or her criminal record. A criminal law attorney may try to minimize the charges or have the charges dismissed altogether by challenging the evidence the prosecution has against the person. This may include evidence of intent by showing that any transactions that were made or any benefits that were received were all legal.

Source: News 13, "Lowcountry man pleads guilty to falsely claiming to be a veteran, received over $190K from VA", 06/27/2018

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