Los Angeles– On 8th October 2020, a man from Orange County who untruthfully presented himself as a United States Marine Corps combat veteran and a 2- times Purple Heart beneficiary to fraudulently acquire veterans’ housing and health care benefits were convicted to sixteen months in federal prison.
James Stiles, age 43, from Orange County, was convicted by the United States Judge John A. Kronstadt, who also directed him to remit 167,234 USD in remuneration. Stiles admitted guilt on 18th June to a single count of health care fraud.
In November 2012, Stiles registered for health care benefit via the United States Department of VA (Veterans Affairs) by presenting and signing a fraudulent request. On the document, Stiles untruthfully alleged that he had served in the Marine Corps from 1995 to 2005, and also that he was rewarded the Purple Heart following his injury on the battlefield.
Once he was registered in the VA’s health care welfare program, Stiles set up medical appointments at will. From December 2012 through March 2016, Stiles obtained 692 outpatients’ medications, mostly at the Tibor Rubin Medical Center in Long Beach.
Stiles confessed in his plea settlement that in December 2015 he also applied for housing benefits meant for homeless veterans, and he presented documents where he untruthfully alleged to be a beneficiary of 2 Purple Hearts. As a consequence of the registration, Stiles was received into the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing Programs. The Orange County Housing Authority, HUD’s local housing liaison in Orange County automatically gave his landlord vouchers every month starting from February 2016 on Stile’s behalf.
In Addition, in February 2016, Stiles presented a document to the VA for the intention of acquiring disability benefits in which he untruthfully alleged that he was a veteran.
Stile’s plot to swindle concluded in April 2016 after the VA pursued him, and he confessed that he had never served in the United States Military and was not qualified to get VA benefits.
The amount of loss resulting from the case was 167,234 USD, with a loss of 4,334 USD to the Orange County Housing Authority, and a loss of 162,900 USD to the Veteran Health Administration.
In a conviction memo, prosecutors cited an audio recording dated March 2016 where Stiles falsely informed a religious outreach congregation for veterans, that he was a captain in the Marine Corps, that he rendered ten years of service, that he was concurrently shot in the back by a sniper and in the head by a five-year-old ‘child’, that caused him to be a coma for nearly 2 years, and that he still lived with the bullet in his head.
The prosecutors stated that Stile’s remarks had no foundation for the truth. His remarks were deeply offensive to the people who had really served in the United States Military.
The investigation for this case was conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Planning-Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs- Office of Inspector General.
The prosecution for this case was conducted by the Assistant United States Attorney of the Riverside Branch Office Eli A. Alcaraz.
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