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Kent man sentenced for false military claims

A U.S. District Court judge on Friday in Seattle sentenced a 22-year-old Kent man to three years of probation with 90 days to be served in a halfway house, for providing false military documents and making false claims of military service and medals earned in Iraq.

Brandon V. Perkins, of Kent, pleaded guilty last Nov. 13 to the charges. He admitted that in April 2008 in an effort to obtain compensation benefits from the military, he falsely claimed in a written statement to the Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Seattle that he suffered pain and injury sustained when he was shot by enemy fire while deployed in Iraq, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office media release.

Judge Richard Jones called Perks behavior “ deplorable,” according to the media release. Jones also said what Perkins had done was “an extreme disservice to those who have served our country valiantly and been injured or killed in battle.”

To support his claim, Perkins submitted a certificate of discharge from the U.S. military, which he knew to be false. Perkins claimed that he had served in the U.S. Army for more than two years and completed a full term of service. Perkins also stated he had received various medals and commendations, including a Combat Infantry Badge, Combat Action Badge, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Purple Heart.

The Purple Heart is a medal awarded to soldiers who were wounded during combat.

In fact, Perkins served in the Army for less than two years. He never left Fort Lewis and never served overseas. He was not injured by enemy fire or in combat, and he did not receive any of the medals claimed.

Military records establish Perkins enlisted in the Army in July 2004, but was terminated by the military during 2006 due to a civil conviction for misconduct.

In July 2008, Perkins visited the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Seattle and claimed to have killed 13 people in Iraq as part of his military service in a further effort to qualify for compensation benefits.

Perkins claimed his war experiences caused him trauma in the form of nightmares and extreme anxiety. He visited Veterans Affairs health-care facilities and received medical benefits of $2,720 to which he was not entitled, authorities say.

As part of his sentence, Perkins was ordered by the judge to pay full restitution to Veteran Affairs for medical benefits he received.

The Department of Veteran Affairs Office of Inspector General investigated the case as part of an effort (called Operation Stolen Valor) to focus on individuals who make false claims of military service and submit false claims.

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