Local News

Wake Forest man accused of posing as veteran

Posted January 12, 2011

A Wake Forest man was arrested Tuesday on accusations that he posed as a veteran to get money from two local veterans groups.

Thomas Eugene Skellion, 43, of 1908 Capricorn Drive, faces one count of obtaining property under false pretenses.

He was in the Wake County jail Wednesday under a $5,000 bond.

Wake Forest police say Skellion posed as a veteran from October 2008 to February 2010 and cheated the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars out of more than $1,500.

Frank Stancil, department adjutant with the American Legion in Raleigh, said officials found out that Skellion was asking for money while dressed a soldier in front of a Wake Forest Walmart.

They say that, when Skellion applied to be a member of a VFW post in Raleigh and said he had won five of the military’s top medals, red flags went up.

Bruce Edwards, quartermaster of the VFW of North Carolina, said Edwards applied to be a member in June and presented himself as a decorated war veteran with several Silver Stars and Bronze Stars.

“It was kind of suspicious-looking, because there were so many,” Edwards said.

That’s when, Edwards said, he asked the national VFW to investigate the claims.

Wake Forest man accused of posing as veteran Wake Forest man accused of posing as veteran

“I spent 21 years in the Army,” he said. “I'm a combat veteran. Anybody who is in that situation would be disgusted and appalled by this type of behavior.”

Wake Forest police said Skellion, who is also being investigated by the FBI, did less than two weeks of basic training in 1984 before he was discharged from the Army.

He allegedly told the local veterans groups that he was a green beret who spent 24 years in Special Forces.

Edwards said that Skellion was also active in the Wake Forest VFW post, where he was the post historian, and also ran an online charity called “Operation Soldier Care Package.”

He was recognized by the Wake Forest Purple Heart Association in 2009 for having three Purple Hearts – honors he never actually received.

According to court records, Skellion was charged in 2008 with embezzlement but pleaded guilty to misdemeanor larceny and was sentenced to 12 months on probation.

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  • rbruce2 Jan 14, 2011

    Why did they not ask for a copy of his DD214 to prove past military service .

  • patriotgroup17 Jan 14, 2011

    retiredn42

    Thanks for your service as well... sorry we dont all agree... Thats what is so great about our country.

  • patriotgroup17 Jan 14, 2011

    to: retiredn42

    Its obvious that your sour about your mistake YOU made on letting this person into your Club. speaking your mind about this subject and comparing it "what I said" to the AZ shooting is disrespectful and shows that people around you and in your Club are a reflection of you and your leadership, Straight up.. you messed up... move on... suk it up.. if youd like to continue this conversation please feel free to contact me BlackwaterIC@gmail.com I would love to give you some leadership training and show you how the Marines take care of business. Good Day

  • patriotgroup17 Jan 14, 2011

    TO:BigUNCFan

    There is over 3400 Medal of Honor receipents...feel free to see US MArine Corps Tribute Bike to honor all US Marine Medal of Honors.. www.facebook.com/honored marine

  • retiredn42 Jan 13, 2011

    Actually, it may likely be shown that the wife was his biggest victim since they married after his claimed military service and she has apparently taken him at his word like so many others. Knowing what I know of her situation, if this is the case, she deserves every ounce of compassion and sympathy we can offer to help her move past this. You can contact me directly through this screenname at AOL.com if you wish to share your additional information.

  • retiredn42 Jan 13, 2011

    NoManLand50 - To answer your question, "what is the difference if there was a category to put that down or not. If there was no category then it was written in." You are factually incorrect. Nothing is ever just "written in". Paragraph 2-4h(23) of Army Regulation 635-5 governs what is written in that block of the DD-214, and yes, I used the version of the regulation in force at the time that document was allegedly prepared. Being born in 1967 and claiming he began service in 1984 only proves he was underage at the time. Hard to argue with simple math.

  • retiredn42 Jan 13, 2011

    I've already said there is more to this story. A copy of his "real" DD-214 discharge form was requested from the archives in St. Louis where I used to work. Therefore, the basic facts are not in dispute by anyone involved in this investigation. It has taken me 11 months to bring it to an arrest. I am on the witness list so the full story will eventually be told. I'm sure the media will continue to cover it given the level of interest and the number of people who have been cheated over the last three years. When I think of some child walking past them as they entered the grocery stores where they solicited, and "donating" their allowance to help our veterans, believing it was going to our military members, I cannot feel anything other than utter contempt, particularly when it was done so in a uniform not authorized for wear by him.

  • retiredn42 Jan 13, 2011

    NoManLand50 - How do you know it was the wife who ran the charity? As for questioning who has their facts straight, go to the NC Secretary of State's website and pull up their Articles of Incorporation under file# 1003270, filed on September 25th, 2007 and you will see Tommy's name and signature there as well as the wife's. I agree that RPD should probably look into the $60k issue, but if there's a statute of limitations, it's probably expired by now since it's been more than 2 years. As for the paperwork for the $1,500, some of it was obtained from the VFW and some from The American Legion, in small amounts of $200 - $300 over a period of time. There is a good article on this in this week's edition of The Wake Weekly since they were also involved by having run a prior article based on his claims of heroics.

  • driverkid3 Jan 13, 2011

    I am NOT a Vet, but have members of my family fight in wars all the way back to the civil war. I have a huge amount of respect for Veterans, what they do and what they go through. Anyone that does something like this ought to be shot for skunk juice, then killed for stinking. To all you Vet's on here, I say THANK YOU and welcome back home. Many of you that served in Nam didn't get that. You all are indeed heroes to me.

  • retiredn42 Jan 13, 2011

    NoManLand50 - In fairness to the WRAL reporting staff, they made the initial report based on the information available to them from the arrest and booking proceedings, not the file I have. I am the Adjutant of the American Legion Post Skellion joined, and it was my job to verify his credentials. Much is not yet made public because investigations are still ongoing. I am a retired Army officer with service in both the Military Police Corps and in Personnel assignments. Stay tuned. The rest will come to light as the trial process proceeds.

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