Dallas Morning News
Kevin Krause, Federal Courts Reporter
April 21, 2017
A federal judge on Friday called Brandon Blackstone's actions in faking a war injury to profit financially "shameful, shameful conduct" before sentencing him to 21 months in prison.
Blackstone, 35, a former U.S. Marine from Arlington, also will have to pay the Veterans Affairs department $322,654 in restitution for monthly disability payments he received from November 2006 to December 2015, according to the ruling from U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn.
He also lied about receiving a Purple Heart and used the fake story to obtain a free house from a veteran's charity.
The Blackstone scheme is the latest in an increasing number of stolen valor cases. Experts say it's rare, however, for veterans who actually served in combat to lie about their wartime experiences for financial or other gain.
And the case achieved some notoriety due to Blackstone's multiple media appearances in which he gave details on camera of being blown up in Iraq by a land mine that were strikingly similar to that of fellow Marine, Casey Owens. In fact, Blackstone left Iraq after a month for a non-combat medical issue and never returned.
Owens, a Houston native, was critically injured and lost his legs when his Humvee hit an anti-tank mine in 2004 in western Iraq, on the Syrian border. He killed himself in 2014 after a decade of suffering from numerous surgeries, brain injury and severe pain.
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