Marine veteran Brandon Ryan Blackstone, 35, received 21 months in prison for lying about a “war injury” he received in Iraq which led to a Purple Heart Medal.
“Awfully claiming military honors is disgraceful by itself,” said U.S. Attorney John R. Parker. “But to do so for financial gain is particularly despicable.”
“While in Iraq, Blackstone never occupied the vehicle which struck an anti-tank mine… Nor was he ever awarded the Purple Heart Medal,” Parker continued.
Blackstone pled guilty in September 2016 to a felony information charging one count of wire fraud. He was out on bail, but violated his pretrial conditions and has been in custody since February 2017.
He confessed to using Marine veteran amputee Casey Owen’s story for his own profit.
“Any fraudulent claim of military valor is disturbing and disrespectful to the brave men and women who earned their honors through courage and sacrifice. Brandon Blackstone’s fraudulent claims, made repeatedly with the purpose of defrauding the government and obtaining personal enrichment, are not only especially egregious but criminal. The FBI will not stand by in these situations,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Eric K. Jackson. “We will investigate these cases to ensure justice is reached. We will do our part to uphold the integrity of the U.S. government and military institutions and to honor those courageous individuals who truly deserve their military honors.”
Blackstone served in the Corps from 2004 until 2006, in that time deploying to Iraq for a little over a month — August 28, 2004 and September 30, 2004, according to plea documents.
On July 28, 2006, Blackstone went to the VA and submitted an application for compensation, claiming to have sustained personal injuries, which include multiple physical blast injuries sustained from striking an anti-tank mine while riding in his Humvee in Iraq.
Blackstone submitted forged witness statements, purportedly from Marines serving alongside him in Iraq. During his routine VA examination in October 2006, he reported the same false claims of being involved in an anti-mine explosion.
The VA began awarding Blackstone disability benefits just a month later in November 2006.
Later in February 2012, Blackstone contacted the Military Warrior Support Foundation (MWSF) and applied for a mortgage-free home, receiving a home in November 2012.
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