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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Man Who Lied About Combat Service for Second Time Sentenced to Federal Prison

Charleston, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Keith R. Hudson, 71, of Charleston, South Carolina, was sentenced to six months in federal prison and six months of home confinement for receiving $197,237 in benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) after falsely claiming to be a veteran.

Evidence presented to the court showed that Hudson falsely claimed that he was entitled to VA benefits because he was a veteran who had been in combat in Vietnam.  He even went so far as to claim that he had received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.

Hudson has committed the same crime in the past.  In 2005, he was prosecuted in Connecticut for the falsely claiming to be a veteran in order to claim VA benefits.  He was placed in pretrial diversion.  He moved to Charleston, South Carolina, and in 2012 he applied to the VA in Charleston for benefits.  He used the same falsified form from the Department of Defense, (a DD-214, “Report of Separation from Active Duty”) and claimed that he was in the Navy and saw combat as a medic, suffering wounds and other trauma.  He claimed that he served from August 1, 1967, through October 31, 1971.

This was all a fraud.  Hudson was never in the military.  He never served in the United States Navy, nor did he ever see combat in Vietnam.

Hudson asked for a probationary sentence, claiming poor health and noting his age, previous bypass surgeries, and cancer.  United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel denied Hudson’s motion for probation and instead sentenced him to 1 year of confinement, in a split sentence.  Six months of the confinement is to be served in federal prison, and six months is to be served as home confinement.  Hudson was also ordered to pay $297,237 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Lydon emphasized the importance of this case for our country and for our community.  “This is an egregious crime,” she said.  “This Defendant trampled on the memory of those who have bravely served our country and suffered harm protecting us.  Hudson not only stole from the taxpayers by taking benefits he did not earn, he also stole directly from veterans who served our nation and protected our freedom.  Every minute of time he spent with a VA doctor or a staff member is a minute he stole from a real veteran.  He took resources that the VA just cannot afford to spare.  We are grateful to the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General for their investigative work on this case.”

Kim Lampkins, the Special Agent in Charge for the Veterans Administration Office of Investigations Criminal Investigations Division, said, "Those who defraud the VA harm all veterans.  VA benefits are intended solely for those who have protected this nation’s freedoms. We investigate individuals who commit fraud against the VA and are dedicated to defending veterans who genuinely earned our support."

The case against Hudson was investigated by the VA Office of Inspector General and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sean Kittrell of the Charleston office.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Lance Crick (864) 282-2105
Updated November 21, 2018