COLUMBIA, S.C.— A South Carolina man who never served in the military has been sentenced to prison for swindling nearly $200,000 in health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to federal officials.
Keith Hudson, 71, was sentenced this week to six months in federal prison, the Justice Department said in a news release. He was also sentenced to house arrest for six months after his release from prison.
Hudson pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal health care fraud charges. Claiming to have served in Vietnam, Hudson also said that he had received two Purple Heart medals when he applied to the VA in Charleston in 2015, according to authorities.
But Hudson never actually served in the military at all. In court paperwork for Hudson's guilty plea, prosecutors noted that Hudson had falsified a DD-214 - a military document detailing a person's service in and separation from the service - claiming to have served as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1971.
During the years he claimed to have been in the military, Hudson was actually working in New York and Maine, at various supermarkets and health care facilities, according to government court filings.
Fingerprint records showed that Hudson had applied for a civilian civil service commission as a mess attendant for the United States Air Force in 1967 and an auxiliary police officer job in Suffolk, New York, in 1970.
In his falsified paperwork, prosecutors also said that Hudson included incorrect citations for his alleged rank and claimed to have received an award that is only bestowed by the U.S. Army, not the Navy.
Prosecutors said that Hudson is suspected of carrying out a similar scheme in Connecticut, where he got care at VA facilities from 2003 until authorities caught on several years later and placed him in a pretrial diversion program.