Fake war hero pleads guilty to stealing from government

TAMPA, Fla. -- A St. Cloud man who falsely claimed he was a Vietnam war hero haunted by his combat experiences in order to receive government funds plead guilty Thursday.

According to court documents, between 2008 and 2013 Walter Clarence Eatman, 68, fraudulently received around $106,000 in government money and benefits, including mental health care for PTSD and medication.

Eatman, who is a former Marine, altered his military discharge paperwork to falsely show he had served in the Vietnam War from 1965-67 and received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, court records show.

In 2008 Eatman filed an application for hearing loss and tinnitus.

In 2010, Eatman attempted to increase his VA benefits for PTSD by claiming he was haunted by his combat experience in Vietnam from and lied about being wounded in combat, according to the Department of Justice.

Eatman faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison for theft of government funds and making false statements.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 16.


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