According to US prosecutors, three years ago, Kenneth E. Jozwiak submitted fake discharge documents to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, aiming to receive pension benefits intended for economically disadvantaged wartime veterans.
Prosecutors say the culprit went so far in fabricating his war record he even accompanied his stepson to an elementary school and represented himself there as a war hero.
His deception was discovered soon after he was granted about $2,300 in VA pension benefits.
In reality, Jozwiak's military service amounted to one year of a four-year enlistment, from 1967 to 1968, after which he was honorably discharged. He was never deployed overseas.
Jozwiak has a substantial criminal record stretching back to 1975, with more than 120 arrests in multiple states. His filings in Wisconsin alone include check fraud, theft via false representation, battery and other.
"To say he had a lengthy criminal record is an understatement," Assistant US Attorney David Toepfer told reporters.
When he was caught, Jozwiak claimed he never used the forged paperwork for anything and even tried to convince his wife to lie about federal investigators using an improper search warrant and stealing her lingerie, according to his indictment.
In a similar case, a former Southern California Marine was recently convicted of lying about being injured in a bomb explosion while serving in Iraq. Using fake witness statements and a Purple Heart he didn't earn, he was awarded disability checks and a mortgage-free house before being caught.