FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY - May 4, 2009
SPRING HOPE MAN SENTENCED FOR THEFT OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that in federal court today United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, sentenced DONALD GREY REAMS, 77, of Spring Hope, North Carolina, to 10 months’ imprisonment followed by 2 years supervised release. The defendant was given credit for 7 ½ months in confinement, and is to serve 2 ½ months in home confinement. He was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $65,956.00.
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on September 4, 2008. On March 4, 2009, REAMS pled guilty to theft of government property valued in excess of $1,000.
An investigation revealed that REAMS, who served in the United States Air Force from April, 1951, to May, 1952, altered documents to obtain VA benefits and services. After discovering that his military records had been destroyed in a fire at the national records center, REAMS obtained a copy of his Defense Department (DD) Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty). He then modified the form by adding that he had been awarded the Purple Heart, a Korean Service medal, an Air Force Overseas ribbon, and a Good Conduct medal. On three occasions, October 6, 2004; December 9, 2004; and April 8, 2005; REAMS submitted to the VA the falsified documentation and claiming he had sustained service-connected injuries/illnesses during his military active duty time. On June 10, 2005, REAMS received disability benefits retroactive to November 1, 2004, based on the falsified documents submitted totaling $65,956.00.
Mr. Holding commented, “It is always a difficult decision to prosecute a former member of our armed services. Here, however, the prosecution was necessary to protect the integrity and meaning of military awards and commendations for those who have truly earned them.”
Investigators found the original DD Form 214 and compared it to the altered form submitted. The investigation determined that REAMS had not received any of the awards that had been added to the altered document and that any injuries or illness were not active duty related.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Eric Evenson served as prosecutor for the government
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.