The people who donate to military charities are generally considered to be patriotic and kind. They often have a sense of duty to those that have served the country as members of the armed forces. Unfortunatly, their generosity has been the target of fraud in recent years. In some cases, fake charities that advertise services for veterans solicit large amounts of fund money, and then use the money for personal expenses, or bloated administration costs.
Rarely, there are instances of the veterans themselves abusing the good intentions of others. This is the case regarding former Marine, Michael Duye Campbell (pictured). Recently charged with mail fraud in Dallas, Campbell has pleaded guilty to ripping off veteran’s charities for at least $40,000. Evidence suggests that a large amount of the fraud was perpetrated simply so that he could golf for free.
Campbell tricked several charities into giving him cash and other things by claiming that he was heavily wounded in 2003, during a patrol in Fallujah, Iraq. His falsified injuries were horrific and designed specifically to illicit as much sympathy as possible from his targets. He claimed that the same blast that incapacitated him also killed members of his unit, and that months later he woke up in Walter Reed Army Medical Center to find that he could not speak, had numerous broken bones, a traumatic brain injury that caused partial memory loss, and eventually developed a stutter.
Apparently an aspiring golfer, Campbell began approaching celebrity golf tournaments and participants for an opportunity to take part. He received golf apparel and free passes, as well as written celebrity endorsements. Golf announcer David Feherty’s Troops First Foundation even flew Campbell to Dubai, where he took a military transport to Iraq, as part of a rehabilitative charity program that returns veterans to the places that they were wounded.
Campbell’s plea agreement outlines a maximum sentence of up to twenty years, along with a $250,000 fine. Though, regardless of how the case turns out, it’s not likely that he’s going to be welcome on any golf course in America.