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Army Deserter Who Faked Identity, Wounds For Benefits Facing Prison

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By Debbie Gregory.

A 64-year-old Army deserter from Morganton, NC is accused of receiving tens of thousands of dollars in veteran benefits by faking his identity, war experience and war wounds.

Roy Lee Ross Jr., a.k.a. Daniel Alfred Sullivan Jr., was indicted on one count of executing a scheme to defraud a health benefit organization (the VA), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; and two counts of making false statements in connection with the delivery of health care benefits by the VA, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

He is also charged with two counts of stealing from the VA, a charge that carries a potential maximum prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine, and one count of a making false claim for travel benefits from the VA, which carries a potential maximum prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine, according to information from U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose.

Ross enlisted in the Army in 1973 and was stationed stateside and in West Germany.

But he never served in Vietnam or Korea, was not in the Special Forces and never was wounded as he claimed, according to the indictment.

While stationed in Hawaii in 1978, he went AWOL, was caught and instead of undergoing a court-martial, was discharged Under Conditions Other Than Honorable.

By 2007, the indictment says, Ross began to falsely represent himself to the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville as a U.S. Army veteran named Daniel Alfred Sullivan Jr. He claimed to have served in the Special Forces, been wounded in combat and honorably discharged.

Ross claimed he suffered from nightmares caused by his wartime service and combat injuries, prosecutors said.

As a result, he was diagnosed with service-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and began receiving health benefits from the VA.

He filed for and received disability-based compensation at a rate of 60 percent and a retroactive lump sum of $18,349, and began receiving a monthly tax-free compensation of $1,026.

In 2014, he filed for more compensation, claiming he suffered pain from being shot in the neck during combat.

His disability rating was increased, reflecting an increase in his monthly tax-free compensation to $1,743.

In 2015, as Daniel Sullivan, he filed a third claim for “increased evaluation,” and was awarded $3,490 in back payment, and his monthly disability payment was increased to $2,906.

The indictment says Ross also received about $57,000 in health care benefits from the VA to which he was not lawfully entitled.

Besides monetarily ripping off the VA, Ross stole resources that should have gone to those who truly need them, and EARNED them.

Disgraceful!

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

If Found Guilty, Bergdahl Could Face Life in Prison

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By Debbie Gregory.

As a result of his 2009 disappearance from his base in Afghanistan, it was announced that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will face general court-martial, the highest level of trial in the military justice system.

Bergdahl, 29, is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, and could receive a sentence of life in prison. While desertion can carry a death penalty, Army officials have said that will not occur in Bergdahl’s case. No American service member has been executed for desertion since World War II.

Lt. Col. Mark Visger, who oversaw a two-day hearing for Bergdahl’s case in September,
had recommended that Bergdahl get a lower form of judicial proceeding known as a special court-martial, which would have given a maximum penalty of 12 months of confinement.

Bergdahl’s return was secured through a prisoner swap in 2014, which resulted in the release of five Taliban officials from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Bergdahl broke his silence last week when he participated in a podcast on “Serial.” He said that within 20 minutes of leaving his base, he had second thoughts, and realized he would face a “hurricane of wrath” from commanding officers. Berghdahl hoped he could find some intelligence that would allow the Army to go easier on him, but got lost in the hills, and then he was captured by the Taliban.

“Doing what I did is me saying that I am like, I don’t know, Jason Bourne. I had this fantastic idea that I was going to prove to the world that I was the real thing,” Bergdahl said.

Jason Bourne is a fictional character who is an elite Top Secret Special Forces operative in a series of novels by Robert Ludlum.

Jon Thurman, a former enlisted specialist in Bergdahl’s infantry company, said that he wasn’t surprised by the Army going forward with a general court-martial. Thurman, who was interviewed for “Serial,” speculated that Bergdahl’s comments in the podcast could hurt his case.

“When that first episode aired, I mean, he sort of hung himself by saying that he walked off and was kinda thinking about doing his own Jason Bourne thing,” Thurman said. “The guilty verdict might come from just that.”

An arraignment hearing will be held at a later date at Fort Bragg, Army officials said. Bergdahl is assigned to Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, with a desk job.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.