In a shocking event, a woman from Rhode Island, Sarah Jane Cavanaugh, lied about being a U.S. Marine and tricked many people. She never actually served in the military but claimed she had. She even said she received important awards like the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Cavanaugh worked at a medical center for veterans in Rhode Island. While there, she stole the identities of real veterans, including a Navy veteran with cancer. By pretending to have cancer herself, she raised $250,000 for medical expenses she didn’t need.
Cavanaugh’s lies didn’t stop there. She also became the leader of a local veterans group. But her lies started to fall apart when a military charity couldn’t find any proof of her service. A retired Marine officer also noticed that she said different things about her rank when she supposedly left the military.
Ultimately, the truth caught up with Cavanaugh, and she pleaded guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, forged military discharge certificate, and fraudulent use of military medals charges in August. A federal judge sentenced her to nearly six years in federal prison and ordered her to repay $284,796.82 in restitution to her victims.
This case represents a brazen and disgraceful exploitation of military valor and benefits. As Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division, Joseph R. Bonavolonta, pointedly stated, “Sarah Cavanagh feigned having cancer, and falsely claimed valor where there was none, to gain hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits and charitable donations.”
This egregious behavior is not only a slap in the face to those who have genuinely served our country, but it also undermines the trust and goodwill of the American people.
The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 makes it illegal to lie about military service to get money or other benefits. Cavanaugh’s punishment shows how important this law is.
This situation should be a warning for everyone to be careful about believing claims of military service. We need to make sure we honor real military heroes and keep the help meant for them away from people like Cavanaugh.
WATCH the video below for more details: