St. Lucie County Resident Sentenced for Falsely Claiming Veteran Status and Theft of Government Benefits
A St. Lucie County resident was sentenced in federal court, on January 28, 2019, for falsely claiming to be a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, in order to apply for employment and obtain free medical services.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, David Spilker, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division (VAOIG CID), Southeast Field Office, and John A. Bolduc, Chief, Port St. Lucie Police Department, made the announcement.
On November 9, 2018, Edward Louis Liroff, 47, of St. Lucie County, pled guilty to theft of government property and making false claims of military accomplishments (Case No. 18-14049-CR). U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg sentenced Liroff to four years’ probation and ordered him to pay over $4,000 in restitution.
According to the court record, including an agreed upon factual proffer, in March of 2018, Liroff submitted two job applications with the city of Port St. Lucie, claiming to be a decorated military combat veteran, in order to obtain veteran’s preference in hiring. As proof of his veteran’s status, Liroff presented a fraudulent and forged DD Form 214 “Certificate of Release and Discharge From Active Duty,” which is the document the U.S. Department of Defense issues upon a military service member's retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. Liroff supplemented his application with a resume, claiming to be a highly decorated retired U.S. Army Ranger, Combat Medic and Recruiter, holding a top-secret security clearance.
In addition, in January of 2013, Liroff used the same fraudulent DD Form 214 and claimed, to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, that he was awarded numerous Army medals, including two Purple Hearts, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, and an Air Medal for Valor. As a result of his false representation of being a Purple Heart recipient, Liroff received free health care benefits from the VA, in excess of $4,000, including prescriptions, outpatient and inpatient services. A Purple Heart recipient receives medical treatment priority, and is never responsible for a copay for medical treatment.
In truth and fact, Liroff never served in the U.S. military.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigatory efforts of the VAOIG-CID and the Port St. Lucie Police Department in this matter. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.