Fake War Hero Sentenced For Making False Statements And Theft Of Government Services
Tampa, FL - U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington sentenced Danny Crane (32, Riverview) yesterday to 12 months and one day in federal prison for theft of government funds. He is also ordered to serve a 3-year term of supervision, following his release from prison . Crane pleaded guilty on November 20, 2012, to fraudulently stealing government services and making false statements in connection with his application for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits.
According to court documents, Crane, an Army veteran, falsified his discharge paperwork in order to perpetrate a fraud on the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Specifically, he fraudulently altered his DD Form 214 (“Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty”) to reflect that he was an Army Sergeant and had been awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross, two Purple Hearts, an Air Medal, and various other war-related awards. In fact, Crane had not received any of those awards and had not been an Army Sergeant, but rather only served a little over three months. Crane submitted his altered discharge paperwork and made false representations to obtain VA medical treatment and attempted to obtain disability benefits to which he was not entitled for service connected injuries that he claimed to have suffered, but had not actually incurred. On June 12, 2012, in Pinellas County, Crane filed an application for VA disability benefits and submitted his altered DD Form 214 along with it. He alleged that he had service connected blindness in his right eye, twenty four plates in his face, six bullets in his back and broken ribs, when in reality, Crane had not suffered any injuries in service and had not served in any wars. He made these representations knowing that they were completely false. Crane had actually been discharged from the Army for "Failure to Adapt to Military Environment and Lack of Self Discipline” and he received an "Uncharacterized Discharge" that made him ineligible for veterans benefits.
To further his fraudulent disability claim, Crane went to the VA and obtained medical treatment and medication on multiple occasions, fraudulently claiming that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The loss to the United States based upon Crane’s various false statements was approximately $7,042.86.
This case was investigated by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda C. Kaiser.