Jury says 'Ranger' made up service

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Jim
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Jury says 'Ranger' made up service

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A member at this site was instrumental in bringing this thief to justice. It required more than a year of effort to obtain a conviction.


Jury says 'Ranger' made up service
Randall Moneymaker was found guilty of fraud, claiming years of combat service.
Mike Gangloff | The Roanoke Times


Randall Moneymaker was found guilty of fraud.
Was Randall A. Moneymaker a soldier's soldier, with decades of service that included combat tours to Grenada, Panama, the Balkans and the Mideast?

Or had the 44-year-old Roanoke man spun a few troubled years in the Army into a made-up tale of firefights, Ranger missions and hundreds of parachute jumps -- and eventually into a job as a recruiter in Roanoke and Christiansburg, and more than $18,000 in military disability payments?

Were the scars on his back the basis for the Purple Heart he claimed to have earned? Or were they the marks of liposuction?

After three days of testimony in federal court in Roanoke -- and a thorough dissection of Moneymaker's long list of supposed awards and overseas postings -- a jury took just over two hours to find him guilty of six charges tied to fraud and theft.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig "Jake" Jacobsen called Moneymaker's inflations of his record "despicable" and an insult to veterans, especially those who'd been injured.

"As a combat veteran myself, I took this case very personally," Jacobsen said after the verdict.

The trial was filled with arcane details of military paperwork. Several witnesses testified in uniform, and Jacobsen and Moneymaker both wore short, military-style haircuts. U.S. District Court Judge James Turk remarked that he spent years as a member of the 2174th Garrison Support Unit, an Army Reserve unit based in Salem that Moneymaker joined in the early 1980s.

Jacobsen said that Moneymaker was in the Reserves from 1981 to 1982, then in the Army from 1983 to 1985. He left after misconduct that prompted an "under honorable conditions (general)" discharge, a certificate below an honorable discharge. He was supposed to be barred from re-enlisting, but in 2004 talked his way into the Active Guard Reserve, claiming he'd been on active duty since the early '80s, Jacobsen said. He became a recruiter and often wore medals including combat and Ranger badges and a Purple Heart.

But there were no records to document Moneymaker's military service between 1985 and his return to the Reserves. The Ranger school at Fort Benning, Ga., said it had not trained him. And a resume he filed in 2000 when he successfully applied for a job at Verizon listed civilian jobs from 1985 on.

The only witness who said he served with Moneymaker in the 1990s, Reserve Sgt. Noval Wright, admitted it was only after a discussion some time after 2004 that he realized they had been in Panama at the same time.

Moneymaker did not testify, but based his case on the argument that military records are routinely lost and confused.

"The government records are just jacked up -- that's a military term," defense attorney C.J. Covati said in his opening statement.

Retired retirement reviewer Robert Gruber testified that the documents Moneymaker sent to support his claim of more than 20 years of service immediately raised flags. "This guy makes Audie Murphy look like a rookie," Gruber recalled thinking.

Martha Lacy, a nurse practitioner at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem, recounted examining Moneymaker when he applied for disability. She said he told her that he pulled shrapnel from a wound on his abdomen after a grenade attack in Panama, and that a wound on his back required more medical attention. But when Jacobsen produced records of liposuction Moneymaker received, Lacy said the scars on his back were at the same spots indicated as liposuction sites.

Defense witnesses said Moneymaker has two sets of scars.

The last defense witness was World War II veteran William Fauber, who testified from a motorized scooter and with the chest of his sports coat weighted with medals. Fauber said he was a member of the famed Darby's Rangers and that Moneymaker had helped him gain a Ranger badge years later. He acknowledged that all he knew of Moneymaker's service was what Moneymaker told him, but told the jury, "If he's not a Ranger, then I'm not a Ranger."

Jacobsen asked jurors to note that Moneymaker could not produce photos from his time overseas, much less soldiers who worked closely with him. He dismissed the records and accounts Moneymaker had given as forgeries created to gain benefits.

"The only thing this defendant has lived up to is his last name," Jacobson said.

Moneymaker's charges included five counts of making false statements on forms he filed or in claims he made while applying for disability benefits or inquiring about a military pension. He also was charged with theft for receiving $18,449.32 in disability payments to which he was not entitled.

Most of the charges carry a five-year maximum prison term, but no date has been set for sentencing.

Asked during a break midway through the trial how he was holding up, Moneymaker nodded.

"I've been through worse."



http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/155855
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Another Phony War Hero Convicted
Prosecutor Argued Moneymaker's Supposed Battle Scars Match Those From Liposuction Procedure
By VIC WALTER
March 27, 2008—



A North Carolina man, who claimed he saw years of combat and earned medals, including the Purple Heart, was found guilty this week of peddling a false military record in order to collect thousands in soldier disability payments.

Randall Moneymaker, of Clayton, N.C., claimed he had served as an Army Ranger on tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Panama and Grenada and had earned medals and badges of honor.

But, according to federal investigators, Moneymaker was a fraud who spent only a short time in the Army, was given a less than honorable discharge and never saw any combat.

"This defendant attempted to defraud the men and women who serve and protect our freedom," U.S. Attorney John Brownlee said, following the guilty verdict. Moneymaker was found guilty of making false statements, submitting false documents and theft of government funds.

Moneymaker's claims to collect more than $18,000 in disability payments were numerous. In a Veterans Affairs compensation and pension medical exam, he claimed he "had been involved in numerous combat situations, including RPG attacks and firefights," according to the federal indictment against him.

Moneymaker also said "he had sustained various service-connected injuries and illnesses, including shell fragment wound and post traumatic stress syndrome," according to his indictment.

Topping his claims, Moneymaker said he had the scars from combat service, but federal authorities say the scars match a liposuction procedure he had done.

"We hope this case will send a message," Brownlee told ABC News. "Through deceit and fraud, he took away money needed for our true American heroes."

Moneymaker faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison and a fine of $1,505,000.

Click Here for the Investigative Homepage.


Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures


http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4531088&page=1
Ranger Class 13-71
Advisor, VN 66-68 69-70
42d Vn Ranger Battalion 1969-1970
Trainer, El Salvador 86-87
Advisor, Saudi Arabian National Guard 91, 93-94
75th RRA Life Member #867

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Jim
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Post by Jim »

To update. He was finally sentenced:

MILITARY STOLEN VALOR UPDATE 10: Former Army serviceman Randall Moneymaker was sentenced to three years in prison 5 SEP for embellishing a brief military career into that of a decorated combat veteran. Moneymaker is part of the growing problem of "phony war heroes," across the nation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig "Jake" Jacobsen said. "As the wars drag on in this country, you have more and more wannabes" who make claims of sacrifices never suffered and medals never earned, Jacobsen said. Unlike other imposters who seek only bragging rights or political gain, Moneymaker was motivated mostly by greed, the government contended -- making his false claims to collect more than $18,000 in disability and military benefits. Moneymaker was sentenced by Judge James Turk following a March trial in U.S. District Court in Roanoke. After hearing testimony that Moneymaker made up tales of firefights, Ranger missions and hundreds of parachute jumps, a jury convicted him of six charges of fraud and theft. "I'm sorry for what I've done," Moneymaker told the judge, apologizing to his family, his country, his fellow soldiers and "anyone else that I've done wrong."

After spending just two years in the Army in the mid-1980s, Moneymaker would later claim to be a decorated Army Ranger with more than 20 years of service that included tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Panama and Grenada. But during the years when he told of suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from seeing his fellow soldiers killed beside him, Moneymaker was actually attending college and working in the telecommunications field. And the scars on his back that he attributed to shrapnel wounds were actually the result of liposuction, federal prosecutors said. Moneymaker was "someone who obtained respect, sympathy and benefits based on the sacrifices and the blood of other veterans who went through what he claimed he went through but didn't," Jacobsen said. Although Moneymaker wore Ranger badges and a Purple Heart he never earned, the charges he was convicted of were limited to the paperwork he filled out to receive benefits from the U.S. Army and Veterans Affairs. The charges included five counts of making false statements on forms he filed or in claims he made while applying for disability benefits or inquiring about a military pension. He also was charged with theft for receiving $18,449.32 in disability payments to which he was not entitled.

Moneymaker, a 44-year-old who now lives in North Carolina, was ordered to pay the $18,449.32 back to the government, plus another $600. Moneymaker spoke only when asked by the judge if he had anything to say just before his punishment was announced. Looking across the courtroom, he apologized to Jacobsen, who as a veteran of the war in Iraq has said he takes the case especially seriously. Defense attorney C.J. Covati questioned Jacobsen's statement that Moneymaker's crimes were among the worst he has seen in his 17 years as a federal prosecutor. "To say that it's one of the worst ever is to let moral indignation get a little bit ahead of the facts in this case," Covati said. Following the hearing, Moneymaker was allowed to remain free on bond until he is ordered to report to prison, which Covati said will probably be in two or three months.

[Source: The Roanoke Times Laurence Hammack article 6 Sep 08 ++]
Ranger Class 13-71
Advisor, VN 66-68 69-70
42d Vn Ranger Battalion 1969-1970
Trainer, El Salvador 86-87
Advisor, Saudi Arabian National Guard 91, 93-94
75th RRA Life Member #867

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