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Press Release

Windsor Man Pleads Guilty in Case Involving Thousands of Fake Calls to the Veteran’s Affairs Crisis Line

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. – A Windsor man pleaded guilty today to making false statements to the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Crisis Line after making more than 12,000 calls to the hotline as a non-veteran, often providing fake names and addresses, and, in some cases, causing emergency services to be dispatched.

“This defendant made more than 12,000 fake cries for help to a hotline intended to provide assistance to the brave men and women who served in our military,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “This tied up hotline operators who could have been helping true veterans – not to mention the resources wasted when emergency services was dispatched.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Ricky Ray Ryan, Jr., 31, a non-veteran, contacted the VA Crisis Line over 12,000 times between 2016 and 2023. The VA Crisis Line is operated by the VA for veterans experiencing difficult life events or challenges after leaving the military.VA Crisis Line employees are trained to remain online with callers until their services are no longer needed or emergency services are dispatched. During each of his calls to the VA Crisis Line, Ryan, who used a software program to mask his identity, reported to be experiencing suicidal ideations, and then provided fake names, false addresses, and dates of birth. On many occasions, emergency services were dispatched in response to Ryan’s claims, but the addresses Ryan provided were either fake or not his actual address.

Ryan pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement and faces a penalty of up to five years in prison when sentenced.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III accepted the plea. The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Office of Investigation, is investigating the case and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa K. Labresh is prosecuting the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:24-cr-1-D-RN.


Updated June 27, 2024