FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - April 21, 2011
FORMER PFC FOUND GUILTY OF STOLEN VALOR, VA FRAUD CHARGES
GREENVILLE - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that in federal court yesterday a jury found MICHAEL DELOS HAMILTON, 68, of Richlands, North Carolina, guilty of one count of false statement to the government, one count of larceny of government property, one count of unauthorized wearing a military uniform, and one count of unauthorized wearing of Congressionally authorized military medals, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Sections 1001(a)(2), 641, 702, and 704, respectively. Senior United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard presided.
This case originated when Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune officials and Jacksonville, North Carolina, area veterans were gathered for a Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day ceremony at a War Memorial located on federal property in Jacksonville. HAMILTON appeared as the guest speaker wearing the full Marine Corps dress blue officer’s uniform with Colonel rank insignia. He was also wearing many military medals signifying some of the highest combat awards for valor, including the Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart. Further investigation revealed that HAMILTON had filed a claim for compensation with the Department of Veterans Affairs for post traumatic stress disorder. In connection with that claim HAMILTON made statements during a VA compensation psychological exam that he suffered flashbacks and other symptoms from his military service in Vietnam. HAMILTON was ultimately paid more than $30,000 by the VA on this claim. Official military records showed that in April, 1962, HAMILTON was released from active duty after about nine months of service as a Private First Class, never served in combat, and never received the claimed medals or awards.
Yesterday’s verdict is an example of the type of prosecutions being undertaken by the Department of Justice in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, and military installations, in order to deter impersonations of military members, protect the integrity of the military medals program established by Congress, and ensure that federal military veterans’ resources and benefits are not diverted from legitimate claimants.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 9, 2011.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Marine Corps Criminal Investigations Division, Provost Marshal’s Office, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. Special Assistant United States Attorney Mark Griffith and Assistant United States Attorney Eric Evenson represented the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce