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Fake SEAL who stole VA benefits gets three years plus in Prison

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to 40 months in prison Wednesday for “a particularly disgraceful fraud scheme” in which he pretended to be a Navy SEAL and former prisoner of war to steal Veterans Administration benefits, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced.

Among other charges, Richard Meleski, 60, pleaded guilty in July 2020 to one count of healthcare fraud, two counts of mail fraud, one count of stolen valor and two counts of fraudulent military papers, according to the attorney’s office.

All told, Meleski scored more than $300,000 in VA healthcare benefits due to his fakery, and even jumped the eligibility line ahead of real veterans in need, the attorney’s office said in a release announcing the sentence.

“In reality, Meleski never served one day in the United States military,” the release states.

Meleski at one point filed for post-traumatic stress compensation and falsely represented that he received a Silver Star while serving as a SEAL.

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