- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Maryland man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for pretending to be a military veteran and stealing thousands of dollars worth of military benefits.

Jason Scaletta, 34, was convicted in Wicomico County Circuit Court of theft of more than $1,000 but less than $10,000 and possession and use of false government identification, a local Fox News affiliate reported.

Scaletta was arrested in June after police discovered he was falsely claiming to be a veteran in order to receive benefits. Investigators revealed he was receiving help on his rent and electric bills from a veterans support organization, Fox reported.

He also provided false military documents claiming he had three deployments overseas and was awarded numerous military service medals and honors. Witnesses from the military testified Tuesday that the documents were forged.

Scaletta provided those same documents to Veterans Support Centers of America founder Jerry Black. Scaletta was eventually hired by VSCOA in Quantico and became the director of the organization’s service-dog training program.

Mr. Black said the revelations about Scaletta’s false claims had hurt his organization’s reputation.

“So it was really important for me to carry this all of the way through. To come here and testify today. Even though this wasn’t about the dollars for us because we weren’t defrauded. St. James Church was. It was about getting our reputation, setting the record straight. When we did find out who this man was, we went and made sure that he was prosecuted,” Mr. Black told the Fox affiliate after the verdict was read Tuesday night.

Witness testimony and police investigations revealed that Scaletta served just 44 days in the military in basic training, which he never completed.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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