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PENSACOLA, Fla. - An 83-year-old Pensacola man pleaded guilty to charges of theft of government funds and filing false and fraudulent benefit claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a news release by the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida.
Richard Kohl claimed to have served with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean war, and he forged government documents, so he could collect $220,000 in benefits, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
“By defrauding the federal government for personal gain, Kohl stole resources needed to help real veterans,” U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Canova said. “These benefits are meant for the brave men and women who have served our country.”
Kohl claimed he received a Purple Heart after being shot. He first filed for benefits in 1996, but the Department of Veterans Affairs denied it, saying it couldn't find his medical records.
In 2005, Kohl submitted a request for disability pension benefits and was accepted. They said he received more than $110,000 in pension benefits, plus costly medical care.
“Kohl never served in any branch of the United States military. Kohl used the false Form DD-214 as proof of his military service to obtain veterans’ benefits he was not entitled to receive,” the release said.
Kohl faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19, 2018.
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