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War zero

For years now, 64-year-old Daniel Sullivan Jr. of Morganton has put himself out there to be Special Forces soldier, a Vietnam veteran wounded in combat when an enemy’s bullet pierced his neck. His wartime efforts earned him a Purple Heart but left him with scars—emotional and physical—and nightmares, Sullivan claims.

For his post-traumatic stress disorder and other service-connected injuries and disabilities, Sullivan has received thousands upon thousands of dollars in health care benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and payments from the government.

At one point, he was drawing nearly $3,000 per month as compensation, but for a man who risked his life and sacrificed his health for his country, that’s fine, right?

Only thing is, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Daniel Sullivan is really just Roy Lee Ross Jr., a man who did join the Army in 1973, but was never a Green Beret, never served in Vietnam or Korea, and never suffered injuries during his enlistment. By 1978, according to a DOJ press release, Ross had been booted from the service for going AWOL.

Officials announced recently that Ross, posing as Sullivan since 2007, is facing multiple federal charges for his bilking of Uncle Sam. In addition to his ill-gotten medical treatments and monthly checks, the government says Ross filed faulty mileage reimbursement claims and received more than $10,000 in Veterans Retraining Assistance Program payments.

It’s unclear how Ross managed, in this age of technology, to dupe government employees and officials for so long, but U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said that the camouflage has been removed.

“Now, the scheme has been exposed and Ross, a disgraced deserter, must answer for his actions in federal court,” Rose said in an agency release.

If you tally his alleged crimes individually, Ross faces up to 30 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.

Looks like his nightmares are just about to begin.

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