Onslow man sent to prison for exaggerating military record
Posted September 8, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. — An Onslow County man has been sentenced to 16 months in prison after he was convicted earlier this year of portraying himself as a U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam.
The Daily News of Jacksonville reported that Michael Delos Hamilton, 68, of Richlands, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Greenville on Wednesday.
Hamilton was found guilty in April of one count each of making a false statement to the government, larceny of government property, unauthorized wearing of a military uniform and unauthorized wearing of congressionally authorized military medals.
Prosecutors said he attended a veterans gathering in Jacksonville last year in a colonel's dress uniform, wearing combat decorations that included two Navy Crosses, four Silver Stars and eight Purple Hearts.
A subsequent investigation determined that Hamilton filed a claim for compensation with the Department of Veterans Affairs for post-traumatic stress disorder. He told a VA psychologist that he suffered flashbacks and other symptoms from his military service in Vietnam, prosecutors said.
He fraudulently said during a VA compensation medical exam in 2009 that he saw repeated combat in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia that resulted in him being “shot, stabbed, and blown up, and witnessed atrocities such as the dismemberment and decapitation of his best friend,” according to a federal grand jury indictment.
The VA paid Hamilton $37,000 in disability payments over three years for service-related ailments, prosecutors said.
Court records indicate Hamilton served nine months and 12 days on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, was transferred to the temporary disability retired list in 1962 and was discharged in July 1967.
His highest rank was private first class, and his only award was a Rifle Qualification Badge, according to court documents.