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He lied about being a veteran and defrauded the VA $200,000; but SC man gets short prison sentence

A Purple Heart Combat Veteran baseball cap. (Senior Airman Mozer O. Da Cunha/U.S. Air Force)
November 21, 2018

He claimed to have served in the Navy.

He claimed to have experienced combat during the Vietnam War.

He claimed to have suffered injuries and trauma and received two Purple Hearts for his service.

None of the South Carolina man’s claims were true.

Keith Hudson pleaded guilty to defrauding the government out of close to $200,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. On Tuesday, the Charleston man received a prison sentence, U.S. Attorney Lance Crick reported.

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Crick told The State that Judge Richard M. Gergel sentenced Hudson “to a one-year split sentence: 6 months incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons and 6 months home confinement.”

That is 1/20th of the possible time Hudson could have served behind bars. He faced the possibility of a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

It will actually be less than that, according to Hudson’s attorney, who said the 70-year-old underwent a 3-month psychiatric evaluation and that will count as time served, WCIV reported.

Hudson was also ordered to pay $297,000 in restitution, according to Crick.

In June, Hudson pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) of $197,237.

McClatchy reported that Hudson falsified a report where he “represented that he was in the Navy and saw combat as a medic, suffering wounds and other trauma.” He said he received two Purple Hearts during his service, from 1967-1971.

An investigation by the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General revealed the report “was forged and false,” according to the U.S. Attorney.

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“In the awards section, it stated that he received a Combat Medic Badge. However, this is an award which is only given for service in the United States Army,” the U.S. Attorney reported. “And the form stated Mr. Hudson received the Fleet Marine Force Medal with Marine Device. There is no such medal.”

Hudson never served in the military, and held a variety of jobs in New York and Maine at the time he claimed to see combat in Vietnam, according to the investigation.

Hudson was prosecuted for the same scheme in Connecticut in 2005, and “entered the pretrial diversion program,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.

“This is a particularly awful type of white collar crime,” U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon said in a news release. “Veteran health benefits are for those who served our nation in the military. The VA has limited numbers of physicians and resources. There is not much to spare.”

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© 2018 The State (Columbia, S.C.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.