Shasta County Man Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Defrauding the VA by Falsely Claiming He Was a Decorated Veteran
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — John Cal Howe II, 42, of Lakehead, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison after being convicted of 23 misdemeanor counts in a scheme to obtain thousands of dollars in veterans’ benefits to which he was not entitled, Acting United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Howe was engaged in a scheme to defraud the VA for over three years. He falsely claimed he was a decorated United States Marine Corps veteran, although he had never enlisted or served in the armed forces of the United States. He stole $13,623.02 in benefits from the Veterans Affairs (VA) and sought to further defraud the VA by applying for a service-related pension. In connection with his scheme, he repeatedly lied about serving in the United States Marine Corps, including lying about being wounded in combat; about completing 12 tours of duty in operation Desert Shield, the Persian Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq; and about being awarded three Purple Heart medals. Further, when the VA began to question Howe’s lies, Howe tried to have a Congressman’s office intervene on his behalf.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General. Special Assistant United States Attorney Elliot Wong prosecuted the case.