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NJ Official accused of faking combat record...

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    N.J. official accused of faking combat record

    The Associated Press
    Posted : Wednesday Nov 26, 2008 18:45:54 EST

    TRENTON, N.J. — An official in the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has been accused of falsifying his veteran and government records in order to receive a tax exemption and medical benefits.
    William Devereaux, the department’s director of veterans programs, was arrested Monday, issued a summons and released. A court hearing has not yet been scheduled.
    In announcing the arrest on Wednesday, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office said the 63-year-old Laurel Springs resident invented a false history of combat heroism in the Vietnam War. The prosecutor’s office said its investigation was prompted by information provided by the county Office of Veterans Affairs.
    Prosecutors said Devereaux falsely claimed on military benefits forms for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that he served as a paratrooper and artilleryman during the war and was injured multiple times. He also claimed to have received medals including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with “V” device.
    Authorities said Devereaux served as a payroll distribution specialist in Vietnam for about 4½ months in 1968 and never served as a paratrooper or artilleryman. They also said he never received the medals he claimed to have and that there was no record of his being injured in combat.
    Devereaux received $34,000 in compensation from Veterans Affairs based on the falsified records, authorities said.
    He is also accused of wrongly claiming exemption from property taxes in Laurel Springs by claiming he was 100 percent disabled due to military service.
    He was charged with falsifying or tampering with records and theft by failure to make required disposition.
    Devereaux, who was appointed to the state post in 2004 by former Gov. James McGreevey, did not return a telephone message left at his home on Wednesday. It was not clear if he had retained a lawyer.

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