Pennsylvania

Bucks Co. Man ‘Faked' Being Prisoner of War to Collect $300,000 From VA: Judge

Richard Meleski, 58, of Chalfont, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison after allegedly racking up over $300,000 in VA benefits.

A gavel rests on a table
Getty Images

A Bucks County man has been sentenced to three years in jail for allegedly faking being part of an elite Navy SEAL to collect thousands of dollars in health care insurance.

Richard Meleski, 58, of Chalfont, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison, and ordered to pay $302,121 in restitution for stealing Veterans Administration(VA) benefits by pretending to be a veteran who had been captured by the enemy during combat.

According to prosecutors, Meleski racked up over $300,000 in VA benefits between 2010 and 2019, where he also filed for monetary compensation "for PTSD suffered during an armed conflict in Beirut in which he rescued injured teammates."

In his application for the benefits, authorities say Meleski also falsely claimed to have been awarded the Silver Star for his heroic actions, even though he never served a single day in the United States military.

Local

Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.

Gunman Kills Teen Girl During Triple Shooting in Trenton

Who Killed Barbara Jean?

"The fact that Meleski chose to put himself ahead of true war heroes in order to take advantage of benefits designed specifically for those serving in the U.S. military is profoundly offensive," said Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams. "

Back in July 2020, Melesky pleaded guilty to several felony and misdemeanor charges, including two counts of mail fraud, one count of stolen valor, and more.

Contact Us