Military Roll of Valor Act of 2007

From the News Story Archive

Former soldier accused of lies

The ex-serviceman was indicted on fraud counts over claims he fought and was wounded.

A former Army serviceman was charged Thursday with concocting a fictitious military career -- claiming tours in Iraq and Afghanistan during which he was wounded and saw fellow soldiers killed -- to obtain $18,000 in veteran benefits.

Randall A. Moneymaker was indicted by a federal grand jury in Roanoke on seven counts of fraud.

Not only did Moneymaker lie about his military service, federal prosecutors say, but he also claimed to have received medals and decorations that were never awarded to him.

"In light of the sacrifices our servicemen and women are making overseas, it's important to prosecute those individuals who claim to have done things that they haven't," Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig "Jake" Jacobsen said.

"Because it's a disservice to those who have."

One charge against Moneymaker was brought under the Stolen Valor Act, a law passed by Congress last year to crack down on a growing number of fake military heroes in the United States.

While previous law made it illegal to falsely claim a Presidential Medal of Honor, the Stolen Valor Act broadened the law to include other medals and decorations authorized by Congress.

The indictment does not say which honors Moneymaker is charged with lying about; Jacobsen declined to comment in detail about the case.

C.J. Covati, a Roanoke attorney who represents Moneymaker, also declined to comment.

A former Roanoke resident who now lives in North Carolina, Moneymaker, 43, is charged with making a number of false statements to the Department of Veterans Affairs in Salem between October 2005 and November 2006.

Moneymaker served about two years in the Army as a private in the 1980s but was never sent overseas, authorities said.

But in paperwork he filed for veteran disability and retirement payments, Moneymaker claimed to have served in the Army from 1985 to 2002 and to have suffered injuries as a result of "combat operations," the indictment states.

Moneymaker said he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder from his experiences, which included being involved in firefights and grenade attacks, witnessing "fellow soldiers and civilians killed or wounded in combat," and being wounded himself by a shell fragment -- all claims that are false, the indictment charges.

Moneymaker received $18,449.32 in disability payments before the scam was discovered, according to the indictment.

If convicted on all charges in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Moneymaker would face a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison and a fine of $1.5 million.

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