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Clay County Man Charged with 'Stolen Valor' and Benefits Fraud

BEMIDJI, Minn. – A Dilworth, Minnesota man has been charged in a scheme to defraud the United States Department of Veterans Affairs by falsely claiming to have been a decorated veteran, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, from 2015 through 2020, Mikhail Robin Wicker, 37, carried out a scheme to obtain benefits provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") by fraudulently claiming himself to be a decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and falsely claiming that he suffered from combat-related injuries that qualified him for disability and other financial benefits.

According to court documents, as part of the scheme, Wicker falsely claimed that he had served in the United States Marine Corps and that he had been a prisoner of war during deployment in Iraq in 2005. Wicker also claimed that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other injuries from an improvised explosive device attack while he served in Iraq. Wicker submitted forged and falsified documents in support of his benefits application to the VA including a fraudulent DD214 Certificate of Discharge, and a false document purporting to be a Purple Heart certificate. As a result, Wicker received more than $100,000 in veterans' benefits which he was not entitled to because he had never served in the military.

Wicker is charged with one count of wire fraud, one count of false military discharge certificate, one count of fraudulent use of military medals, and one count of theft of government funds. Wicker made his initial appearance today in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Jon T. Huseby.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, and the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lindsey E. Middlecamp and Hillary A. Taylor are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

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