A guy who not once but twice claimed to have served in combat in order to claim VA benefits will now be telling his fake war stories in federal prison.
Keith R. Hudson, 71, was sentenced to six months in jail and six months of home confinement after falsely claiming to be a Vietnam veteran and receiving nearly $200,000 in benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
He's also been ordered to pay $297,327 in restitution.
According to a news release from the Justice Department, Hudson never served in the military, yet he was able to get VA bennies by saying he received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for service in Vietnam.
In 2005, Hudson was prosecuted in Connecticut for bilking the VA after claiming to be a vet, but was placed in pretrial diversion. He moved to South Carolina and in 2012, used the same falsified DD-214 discharge document he used before, which claimed he was a Navy medic who was wounded sometime between 1967 and 1971.
Hudson did a particularly bad job in making up service details on his supposed Navy DD-214. According to a June DOJ release, he said his rank was Hospitalman at the pay grade of E-4 (the actual pay grade is E-3); he gave himself a Combat Medic Badge (an Army award); and the form said he received the "Fleet Marine Force Medal with Marine Device," which is not even a thing.
“This is an egregious crime,” U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon said in a statement.
“This Defendant trampled on the memory of those who have bravely served our country and suffered harm protecting us. Hudson not only stole from the taxpayers by taking benefits he did not earn, he also stole directly from veterans who served our nation and protected our freedom."
NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.
The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.
Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.
Editor's note: this story originally appeared in 2018
How you die matters. Ten years ago, on Memorial Day, I was in Fallujah, serving a year-long tour on the staff and conducting vehicle patrols between Abu Ghraib and Ramadi. That day I attended a memorial service in the field. It was just one of many held that year in Iraq, and one of the countless I witnessed over my 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Like many military veterans, Memorial Day is not abstract to me. It is personal; a moment when we remember our friends. A day, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth."