PA Man Gets Prison Term for Faking Military Hero Status

Stolen Valor US military ribbon medal commendations iStock-lauradyoung 495918711
PA: Bucks County Man Sentenced to Over Three Years for Faking Military Hero Status  ,,,IMG iStock-lauradyoung

PHILADELPHIA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Richard Meleski, 58, of Chalfont, PA, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $302,121 in restitution for a particularly disgraceful fraud scheme to steal Veterans Administration (VA) benefits by pretending to be a veteran who had been captured by the enemy during combat.

In July 2020, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud, two counts of mail fraud, one count of stolen valor, two counts of fraudulent military papers, as well as two counts of aiding and abetting straw purchases, and one count of making false statements in connection with receiving Social Security Administration disability benefits.

The charges stemmed from Meleski fraudulently claiming to have served as an elite Navy SEAL and falsely representing that he had been a Prisoner of War in order to secure healthcare benefits from the VA worth over $300,000. Due to his false representation as a Prisoner of War, the defendant received healthcare from the VA in Priority Group 3, effectively receiving healthcare before other deserving military service members. In reality, Meleski never served one day in the United States military.

The defendant also filed for monetary compensation from the VA for PTSD suffered during an armed conflict in Beirut in which he rescued injured teammates. In his application for disability benefits for PTSD, Meleski falsely represented that he had been awarded the Silver Star for his heroic actions during his time as a Navy SEAL. Again, Meleski never served a single day in the United States military and was never awarded such commendation. Meleski also submitted another application to the VA for monetary compensation in which he included obituaries of actual Navy SEALs alongside whom he falsely said he had served. He traded on the actions of these true service members in an attempt to bolster his application for monetary benefits.

The defendant also filed for disability benefits from The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) for injuries he claimed to have received during his time in the military.  Meleski falsely testified under oath in connection with an SSA Disability proceeding.

“The defendant faked a record as a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL in order to collect numerous forms of taxpayer-funded compensation,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “The fact that Meleski chose to put himself ahead of true war heroes in order to take advantage of benefits designed specifically for those serving in the U.S. military is profoundly offensive. Our veterans fought for the freedoms we hold dear, and as we approach the twentieth anniversary of the attacks of 9/11 this Saturday, their sacrifices are even more meaningful. The defendant’s actions dishonor all of their legacies.”

“We are grateful to our federal partners for their work in pursuing and prosecuting those who impersonate our nation’s hero’s and unlawfully obtain benefits meant for those who served,” said RADM Karen Flaherty-Oxler (RET), Medical Center Director for the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz (Philadelphia) VA Medical Center. “It is disheartening to see someone who benefited from the service of our Veterans, dishonor them in this manner. Nonetheless, our day-to-day mission of caring for our Veterans continues uninterrupted and with the same vigor and commitment.”

“Today’s sentence sends a clear message that those who benefit from falsely claiming to have served in the United States military will be held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher Algieri, Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Northeast Field Office. “The VA OIG appreciates the support of the United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners in securing justice for our nation’s true heroes.”

“This defendant defrauded the government in many different ways for several years,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division.  “The outcome of this investigation is the result of several law enforcement agencies working together for a common goal – to keep our communities safe from criminals like Meleski. I want to thank our law enforcement partners at the VA OIG, SSA OIG and the U.S Attorney’s Office for this successful prosecution.”

The case was investigated by Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and it is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Megan Curran.

Philadelphia Field Division


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

ATF is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating violations of the federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations. More information about ATF and its programs can be found at www.atf.gov.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ( ATF )

Subscribe
Notify of
21 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
StLPro2A
StLPro2A
20 days ago

How about US Senator Richard “DaNang Dick” Blumenthal up next for this type of award???

gunnerdd517
gunnerdd517
22 days ago

throw the book at him

Ram
Ram
22 days ago

People with no honor, are not shamed by their dishonorable actions.
In paragraph six there is the statement that “The defendant’s actions
dishonor their (true warrior/veterans) legacies”. That is impossible,
their legacies are and always will be in tact. Meleski is like an insect
on a tombstone . . . he can’t change the inscription.

NightFire
NightFire
22 days ago

The VA has access to military service records and all military medical records. Social Security has access to all military service. The VA gets the records directly from the DoD, anytime I want a copy of my records, I get them from the VA. If you’ve paid taxes, Social Security has that employment data. SS doesn’t care if you are disabled from the military or the private sector, to them, disabled is disabled. If you give SS IUD or P&T paperwork, they authorize benefits. Getting the VA to award IUD is difficult, getting P&T is nearly impossible. For this guy… Read more »

American Patriot
American Patriot
22 days ago

No wonder why I see so many non English speaking people at the V.A. there’s no verification.

gunnerdd517
gunnerdd517
22 days ago

VA lost my ID card. I want nothing to do w/them. My ID I was given at time of discharge. THEN, they told me it was probably in a warehouse somewhere. WTF ? Nope, I want no part of what the VA has to offer.My DD214 isn`t too convenient. p on them !

TStheDeplorable
TStheDeplorable
22 days ago

He said he was a SEAL and prisoner of war. No SEAL has ever been taken prisoner. Zero. What almost bothers me more than his fraud is that the VA doesn’t have a way to check veteran status before giving medical aid and benefits. That should be the easiest thing in the world. Put in his data and check him against the military ID photo. If no record shows up, kick him to the curb. Likewise, if a guy claims POW status or combat injury status to get priority treatment, that data should be readily available. I have to wonder… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
22 days ago

It won’t stop because the government employees who are incompetent will not get fired and lose their pensions. They can be as lazy and incompetent as they want to be.

gunnerdd517
gunnerdd517
22 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

thats a great explanation of why we got the likes of Milley.

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
23 days ago

He didn’t get prison for “stolen valor”. He got prison for being a thief. Someone was damaged by his actions. Not really, but it appears so. The government has an unlimited money supply due to it’s ability to create all it can with the help of the Federal Reserve.

RAS
RAS
23 days ago

No question he deserved what he got. But what about the likes of Senator Richard “Stolen Valor” Blumenthal from Connecticut who based his election on the lie that he served in action in Vietnam. Same old double standards!

Buster
Buster
23 days ago

Sounds as if this faker got what he had coming.

What about fakers that steal Presidential elections and commit other treasonous acts…what sentance will they receive?

Glocktarded
Glocktarded
24 days ago

“Meleski never served one day in the United States military”

Too bad the government has no way of verifying that someone’s a veteran before giving them benefits.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
24 days ago
Reply to  Glocktarded

How many government employees were fired (and lost their pensions) because Meleski was allowed to commit fraud against non-government employees (who pay the majority of taxes)?

None – why is that?

Henry Bowman
Henry Bowman
24 days ago

I don’t get how the BATFaggots got involved… Am I missing something?

Oh lemme guess; he owned a few guns and so F-troop scooped those up when this POS faker got what was coming to him.

ATF clusterfuck.png
JSNMGC
JSNMGC
24 days ago
Reply to  Henry Bowman

Yes, you are missing something.

See my post below – many of the door-kickin’ BATFE “non-civilian” employees are veterans. The BATFE supports veterans because they are veterans.

AZ Lefty
AZ Lefty
24 days ago
Reply to  Henry Bowman

This is not about you blowing at Truck Stops

Henry Bowman
Henry Bowman
23 days ago
Reply to  AZ Lefty

In your homo dreams, a$$w.

Shut The F Up Commie.png
Don
Don
22 days ago
Reply to  Henry Bowman

Read the article, he got guns using straw men.

Stag
Stag
22 days ago
Reply to  Don

So?

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
24 days ago

Not too hard to see why the BATFE was involved.

Many of the door-kickin’ BATFE “non-civilian” employees are veterans.