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KENT MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MAKING FALSE MILITARY CLAIMS IN EFFORT TO RECEIVE COMPENSATION Claimed Combat Service in Iraq and To Have Been Awarded The Purple Heart

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2008

BRANDON V. PERKINS, 21, of Kent, Washington, appeared today in U.S. District Court in Seattle and pleaded guilty to presenting false military documents and to making false claims of military service and medals earned in violation of federal law. These offenses are punishable by up to one year in prison, $100,000 fine, and a period of supervised release of up to one year.

In pleading guilty, PERKINS acknowledged that during April, 2008, in an effort to obtain compensation benefits from the United States military to which he was not entitled, he submitted a written statement to the Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office in Seattle, Washington, falsely claiming to be suffering pain and injury due to a combat injury sustained when he was shot by enemy fire while deployed in Iraq. In support of this claim, he submitted a certificate of discharge from the United States military, which he knew to be false, stating that he had served in the United States Army for more than two years and completed a full term of service, and that he had received various medals and commendations, including a Combat Infantry Badge, Combat Action Badge, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is a medal awarded to soldiers who were wounded during combat.

In fact, as PERKINS well knew, while he did serve in the Army for a limited period, he served less than two years (two years or more of active service are required in order to qualify for VA compensation benefits), he never left Fort Lewis, Washington, he never served overseas, he was not injured by enemy fire or in combat, and he did not receive any of the medals claimed.

Records establish PERKINS enlisted in the United States Army in July 2004, but was terminated by the military during 2006 due to a civil conviction for misconduct.

In July 2008, PERKINS visited the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, and, in a further effort to qualify for VA compensation benefits, claimed to have killed 13 people in Iraq as part of his military service, and to have been awarded the Purple Heart. He represented that his war experiences were causing him trauma in the form of nightmares and extreme anxiety. He visited VA health care facilities and received medical benefits of $2,720 to which he was not entitled.

As part of his plea agreement, PERKINS has agreed to pay full restitution to the VA for medical benefits he received.

Sentencing is set before United States District Judge Richard A. Jones on February 6, 2009.

The case was investigated by the Department of Veteran Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) and is part of its continuing efforts focused upon individuals making false claims of military service (Operation Stolen Valor) and submitting false claims to the United States. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ron Friedman.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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