Wisconsin man charged with fraud and obstruction after falsely claiming to be Navy SEAL wounded four times in Vietnam
A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment charging a Wisconsin man for crimes related to his false claims that he was a Navy SEAL wounded four times in Vietnam, said Carole S. Rendon, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Kenneth E. Jozwiak, 67, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was charged with unlawfully exhibiting a military discharge certificate, theft of government money, making false statements to federal agents, and attempting to obstruct an official proceeding.
“This defendant’s lies about his service are an affront to those who saw combat and those wounded fighting on behalf of our nation,” Rendon said. “This defendant did neither, and falsely inflated his service record in an effort to get additional benefits.”
“This indictment reflects the VA OIG’s commitment to vigorously pursue those individuals that falsify military service records and defraud the VA,” said Gavin McClaren, Resident Agent in Charge of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Cleveland office.
Jozwiak on September 4, 2014, exhibited a DD-214 (military discharge certificate) that claimed, in part, that Jozwiak was a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran, that he was a four-time recipient of the Purple Heart, and that he was a Navy SEAL -- all entries Jozwiak knew were totally false, according to the indictment.
Additionally, Jozwiak defrauded the Department of Veterans Affairs of $2,289 through veteran’s entitlements he received between August and December 2014. In January 2015, Jozwiak made several false statements to federal agents about his fraudulent activities and his military service, and that he attempted to obstruct an official proceeding by tampering with a material witness, according to the indictment.
If convicted, the sentence in this case will be determined by the court after consideration of the federal sentencing guidelines which depend upon a number of factors unique to each case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the unique characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benedict S. Gullo. The case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General—Criminal Investigative Division.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.