WRAL Investigates

Onslow man charged with faking Vietnam claims, taking vet benefits

Posted October 8, 2010

— A man already charged with wearing the uniform and medals of a highly decorated Marine colonel faces new charges that he lied about Vietnam battle injuries and took more than $30,000 in veteran’s benefits.

A federal grand jury indicted Michael Delos Hamilton this week on an embezzlement charge connection with receiving more than $30,000 in disability payments in the past three years for service-related ailments.

Hamilton, 67, of Richlands, fraudulently said during a Veterans Affairs compensation medical exam last year 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,” the indictment alleges.

Hamilton’s claim for service-connected compensation also included the false statements that he was extensively honored for his performance in battle by receiving two Navy Crosses, the second highest award for valor, according to the indictment. He also claimed to have earned three Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, and eight Purple Hearts.

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.

Hamilton does not have a listed telephone number and could not be reached by The Associated Press on Friday. The attorney who represented Hamilton on earlier charges of wearing a Marine officer’s uniform and rows of medals did not return a call to The AP.

The indictment also includes charges similar to those Hamilton already faced: that he wore a Marine colonel’s dress blue uniform and medals during a military recognition day ceremony in April in Jacksonville, which adjoins Camp Lejeune. It is a federal offense to claim or wear military decorations and carries punishment of up to one year in prison and a fine.

Hamilton pleaded guilty last year to altering a military identification card to represent himself as a three-star general. He paid $100 in fines and was sentenced to six months probation in a plea agreement.


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  • ratgitter88 Oct 8, 2010

    shouldn't his service (or lack of) be verified BEFORE any benefits are awarded?

  • airbornemonty Oct 8, 2010

    This old man is with obviously mentally sick. Can not anyone in North Carolina see that? Or is he to fall between the cracks like the murdered child in Fayetteville did.

    As an old combat veteran, I will say that it is impossible to get all of those medals in combat.

    Unless you're a general back in some secure island sitting across from another general and you're giving each other medals, err, I'll give you that if you will give me this....

  • Big Mike Oct 8, 2010

    The Few...The Proud...the Fakes!......my late Captain Marine Corps dad would be so sad to read this story.

  • Big Mike Oct 8, 2010

    As a Vietnam Combat Veteran this really sticks me where it hurts. This man obvioulsy needs help. I am sorry for all the honorably discharged vets, like myself, that we still have failures in the system and people who find ways to take advantge of it. It only takes away from our men of war who need the assitance and help the truly deserve......

    Big Mike
    B Co, HHC 1/7 Air Cavalry
    Vietnam, Cambodia

  • ranquick Oct 8, 2010

    What a disgrace this man is to all those who have serve and this is a wake call for the VA to look at those who are getting benefits thatshould not be and those who need should be getting them.

  • dpilot Oct 8, 2010

    This is a disgraceful and a slap in the face of all combat Veterans who are denied VA benefits that have actually been earned by the veteran. I'm going to foward this to the Winston-Salem VA Office and voice my contempt of their system. Daniel E. Pilot, USN Disabled Veteran (Vietnam 1967).

  • tim14 Oct 8, 2010

    it comes from the parent company being too pansy scared by the fcc. that's why all of their "live" broadcasts are delayed 5 seconds, in case of a wordy dird. *P*

  • nisa-pizza Oct 8, 2010

    He can barely stand up straight with all of that on his chest.
    Eight Purple hearts!!!! Holding all of that up has probably aged him an extra 20 years.

    That's pretty sad. My dad served for 30 years during WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He never had to see combat but was stationed at DaNang for a year or so and yet we were still very proud of him when he was alive. To serve at all is an honor in it's self whether it's six months or 6 years.

    No inflation is necessary. He should have been satisfied with that.

  • Mr William Oct 8, 2010

    Golly, I would love to be on that jury.

    Viet Vet 25th Inf Div.

  • North Carolina Home Oct 8, 2010

    One can only hope this sicko meets Carlos Hathc*ck in the afterlife.

    Apologies to Carlos for the unusual spelling but apparently the last four letters of his name doesn't pass the GOLO naughty censor!