A Washington man, whose claims to have slaughtered civilians as a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq were seen by millions on YouTube, admitted in federal court in Seattle today that he was a fake and a liar.
Jesse Adam Macbeth, 23, pleaded guilty to charges he faked his war record.
"He was in the Army for 40 days before he was kicked out of boot camp for being unfit," said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan. "He was never in Iraq."
Macbeth's story of killing men and women as they left a Baghdad mosque included claims that he was a U.S. Army Ranger and had received the Purple Heart for injuries suffered in combat in Iraq.
His interview was translated into Arabic and distributed in the Middle East, said the U.S. attorney.
"Macbeth's lies fueled hostility to our servicemen in Iraq and here at home," Sullivan said.
THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS
Federal prosecutors and investigators with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs say they are in the midst of a crackdown on phony heroes.
"The phony war hero phenomenon plagues the American landscape and tarnishes the service of thousands of veterans who have served honorable," said Douglas Carver, special agent in charge of the VA's inspector general operation in the west.
In another recent case, investigators uncovered a man who posed as a U.S. Marine Chaplain, officiating at the weddings and funerals of Marines.
Reggie Lee Buddle, 59, of Puyallup, Wash., was sentenced to two years of probation in July after pleading guilty to charges he wore a Marine Captain's uniform and insignia.
Buddle, who never served in the Marines, participated in an opening ceremony of the Washington state Senate last year, delivering the opening prayer.
Macbeth, the phony U.S. soldier who claimed to have committed atrocities, was sentenced to five months in jail.
He told the judge today he wanted to apologize to "the real American heroes."
He said he lied about his military record in order to get money and treatment from the VA hospital.