WRAL Investigates

Onslow man guilty of faking Vietnam claims, taking vet benefits

Posted April 21, 2011 5:15 p.m. EDT

— A federal jury on Wednesday convicted an Onslow County man of lying about his military service and illegally claiming more than $30,000 in veteran’s benefits, authorities said.

Michael Delos Hamilton, 68, of Richlands, was found guilty 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 Hamilton wore a Marine colonel’s dress blue uniform and medals during a military recognition day ceremony last year in Jacksonville, which adjoins Camp Lejeune.

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.

The VA paid Hamilton $30,000 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.

Hamilton will be sentenced in August.