Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fake Disabled Vet Gets 2 Years for Selling Fake Diamond Ring, etc.

Kent Faulk at the Birmingham News reports about the Huntsville, Alabama man who received a 2-Year federal prison term for among other things, representing himself as a "disabled veteran" in an effort to obtain government defense contracts and selling a cubic zirconium ring for $70,000!  It's an interesting story because it borders on the "stolen valor" claims that we've talked about on Bad Lawyer and I'm sure you've seen discussed elsewhere:

"A Huntsville man was sentenced today to two years in a federal prison for falsely claiming he was awarded the Purple Heart and other military medals, sold a fake diamond for $70,000, and claimed he was a disabled veteran to get government contracts.  Skyler Smith, 27, also was ordered by U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn to pay $70,000 in restitution to the victim of the diamond scam, participate in a mental health program, and serve three years on supervised probation after his release.  During his supervised release his Internet activity will be monitored to make sure he doesn't use it to commit similar crimes and his computer equipment will be available for random inspection, the judge ordered.

'I don't know what kinds of problems you have that cause you to be this way,'  Blackburn told Smith at the hearing in Birmingham. She said she didn't know whether it was 'mental'  issues or 'a criminal mind' that caused him to be that way.

The U.S. Attorney's office had asked for the 24-month sentence. Blackburn said she had considered making his sentence longer.
Smith told the judge he had made some mistakes and would like the opportunity to make restitution.

Smith had been indicted in February on seven counts. Five of the counts involved his claims that he had military medals, including the Purple Heart. Another count involved selling a $12.90 cubic zirconia as a diamond for $70,000. And the other count involved claiming to be a disabled veteran in his bid to sell the government ballistic vests.

He pleaded guilty to the charges in April.
I said the case borders on a Stolen Valor prosecution, but it's not.  Smith's just a fraud.  Althoguh I get the sense that the Judge was inclined to enhance the sentence based on the fraudulent misrepresentations of military honors and disability.

Question, what sort of person buys a $12.90 cubic zirconium ring for $70K?


  1. What sort of person buys a $12.90 ring for $70k?

    Obviously someone who thought he was getting the better of the deal. First rule of the con: You can't cheat an honest man.

  2. anon@ 1:52

    Thank you for your comment. Your adage is accurate, but what I want to know is whether he was "stung" by the federales. If someone indeed bought a thirteen-buck ring, then your point is well-taken.