States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|December 20, 2010||
FORMER CONNECTICUT RESIDENT SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR LYING TO RECEIVE ADDITIONAL VA DISABILITY BENEFITS
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOHN GOLINO, 61, of Naples, Florida, formerly of North Haven, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 10 months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for fraudulently receiving nearly $80,000 in veterans disability benefit payments.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in approximately February 2004, GOLINO submitted a fraudulent DD-214 military discharge report for consideration of enhanced disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). The discharge report falsely indicated that GOLINO had served in combat operations in Vietnam as a Navy SEAL and was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries sustained during enemy engagement.
As part of his fraudulent claim for increased VA disability compensation, GOLINO recounted three different encounters during his military service that he claimed caused him to have PTSD. The first encounter was when he was hit by shrapnel in his wrist and leg from Viet Cong soldiers in a Cambodian village. The second encounter was having to shoot a teenage Vietnamese girl before she could throw a satchel full of explosive. The third encounter was witnessing a booby-trapped baby blow up in the hands of his friend while they were out on patrol in Vietnam. All of these encounters were fabricated by GOLINO.
Based upon the false information and documentation provided by GOLINO, he was rated 70 percent disabled and received increased monthly compensation payments from the VA from 2004 to 2009.
On September 9, 2009, GOLINO was interviewed and confronted with the false accounts of his military service. GOLINO admitted that he was never a Navy SEAL, had never been in a combat situation, had not earned a Purple Heart, and that he had never been to Vietnam. GOLINO further admitted to investigators that he had fabricated the stories in order to receive increased VA benefit payments.
Since 1998, GOLINO has received legitimate VA disability compensation benefits stemming from a wrist injury he sustained while serving in the US Navy aboard the USS Sperry as a mail clerk.
Between 2004 and 2009, GOLINO received additional compensation in the amount of $79,624 based upon his fraudulent claims. Today, as part of his sentence, Judge Bryant ordered GOLINO to pay full restitution to the Government.
On September 29, 2010, GOLINO pleaded guilty to one count of converting money of the United States.
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Douglas P. Morabito.
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