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Illinois Veteran Found Guilty Of Stolen Valor After Lying To Get VA Disability
A 67-year-old veteran from Geneseo, Illinois, pleaded guilty to stolen valor charges on Aug. 22, after misleading the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Justice announced.
William R. Jones was charged with theft of government funds and making false statements about his military service. In his hearing, statements and documents revealed that Jones, who enlisted in the Air National Guard in 1971, lied about serving in “Southeast Asia or Republic of Vietnam (RVN) theater of combat operations or in any other theater of combat operations.”
After retiring in 2003, Jones sought disability benefits from the VA, claiming he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the combat he never saw combat in Vietnam. Jones went so far as to falsify information on his DD-214, solicit help from the American Legion in 2013 with a false certificate from a Vietnam Special Operations Group confirming his service, forge a certificate for an Enlisted Aircrew badge, and offer up a 2008 letter from then-candidate Barack Obama which attested he was a Vietnam veteran.
Jones also alleged that he was shot down while serving as crewman on an AC-130 Spectre gunship and rescued Marines after spending three weeks in enemy territory. For his actions there, he claimed he had been awarded a Bronze Star Medal with V for Valor and a Purple Heart. But during his guilty plea, Jones admitted that not only did he not serve with special forces in Vietnam in 1972, but that he never physically served in Vietnam at all.
According to the DoJ statement released after his indictment in June 2016, Jones also “submitted a form containing false information to the office of U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin to support his claim for veterans disability benefits.” The document stated that Jones was deployed to Vietnam in 1972, where he served with 10th Special Operations.
After receiving Jones’ falsified documents, the VA paid him $71,472 for combat-related disability. Now, he could be tapped to pay the VA back in restitution.
The maximum penalty for making false statements is five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 while the maximum penalty for a single count of theft of government funds is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the Justice Department statement.
Jones’ sentencing date is Dec. 12, 2017.
Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland -- The U.S. Air Force will call its new trainer the T-7A "Red Hawk."
Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan announced the name of the jet, known previously as the T-X, on Monday, alongside retired Col. Charles McGee, who was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
"The name, Red Hawk, honors the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, and pays homage to their signature red-tailed aircraft from World War II," Donovan said here during the annual Air, Space and Cyber conference.
The Special Forces community is honoring the life of Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy W. Griffin, who was killed in Afghanistan on Monday, whom his commander described as a superlative soldier and beloved teammate.
"He was a warrior - an accomplished, respected and loved Special Forces soldier that will never be forgotten," Col. Owen G. Ray, commander of 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), said in a news release. "We ask that you keep his family and teammates in your thoughts and prayers."
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran held talks with a delegation from Afghanistan's Taliban, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, a week after peace talks between the United States and the Islamist insurgents collapsed.
Iran said in December it had been meeting with Taliban representatives with the knowledge of the Afghan government, after reports of U.S.-Taliban talks about a ceasefire and a possible withdrawal of foreign troops.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"