SPRINGFIELD, Mass — A Massachusetts man was indicted by a federal grand jury in Springfield Friday for allegedly stealing benefit payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs and submitting a false Purple Heart application to the Marine Corps.
Paul John Herbert, 52, of Shelburne Falls is accused of stealing more than $344,000 in veteran disability benefits from January 1, 2010 to March 11, 2023, according to the Department of Justice. In October 2018, the former United States Marine also allegedly submitted an application for a Purple Heart award, claiming he suffered injuries including a traumatic brain injury from a roadside explosion while deployed in Northern Iraw.
Herbert was arrested Friday and is facing charges of one count of theft of government money and one count of making false statements. He was released on conditions.
“Mr. Herbert’s alleged conduct is an affront to every veteran who has sacrificed to earn the honor of a Purple Heart and who is deserving of disability benefits. According to the indictment, he not only stole tens of thousands of dollars in disability benefits that are supposed to be used to help veterans in need, but he also falsely claimed to have suffered a traumatic brain injury during his deployment in an effort to receive a Purple Heart he didn’t deserve,” said United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “Every day, thousands of brave members of the military selflessly risk their lives to protect our country. Stealing from our country’s veterans or claiming valor where there is none is an insult to the honorable service members who sacrifice for our safety.”
A charge of theft of government money allows for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of making a false statement allows for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
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