A Charleston man has pleaded guilty after investigators said he fraudulently collected nearly $200,000 in Veteran Affairs benefits over the past few years while listed as a Navy medic who received two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam.
But, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 70-year-old Keith Hudson never served in the military.
He was indicted this week for defrauding the VA by receiving $197,237 in benefits after falsely claiming to be a military veteran of combat in Vietnam.
“This is a particularly awful type of white-collar crime,” U.S. Attorney for South Carolina Sherri Lydon said in a 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.”
Employment records for Hudson from 1967 through 1971 established that he worked at a variety of jobs in New York and in Maine. In two of them, he applied for employment and was fingerprinted. These fingerprints are still on file and matched his current prints. Investigators also could not find any Defense Department records to back up Hudson’s claims and concluded he never served in the United States Navy during that time and therefore never saw combat in Vietnam.
Hudson faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced at a later date. He must also repay the amount he’s accused of fraudulently receiving.