A former Marine has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in federal prison after he admitted to lying about sustaining a brain injury in Iraq in a scam to raise money to become a professional golfer.
Michael Duye Campbell was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison after lying about a battlefield injury to collect money from charities. (Image source: WFAA-TV)
Michael Duye Campbell claimed he was hurt in an explosion and used the story to bilk donors into giving him at least $40,000 so he could play golf in the PGA tour, WFAA-TV in Dallas reported. Not only was he never injured, he never left the U.S., according to The Dallas Morning News.
“What you did was egregious. It was outrageous,” U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis told Campbell in court Wednesday. “This is just not your normal fraud case.”
In addition to collecting donor money, Campbell used his fake story to take part in a charity trip to Fallujah where he could see the spot he was "injured" in combat. Two Blackhawk helicopters flew over the active war zone, even performing an extra loop at Campbell's request, according to the newspaper.
“We had these 20-some men in a place we didn’t need to be,” said Richard Kell, executive director of the nonprofit Troops First Foundation and who sat across from Campbell during the flight. “It still amazes me…men were put in jeopardy."
Campbell apologized for his actions in court and said he takes full responsibility.
“I wish I could take it back,” he said. “I can’t.”
The judge also ordered Campbell to pay $40,993 in restitution in addition to serving his prison sentence.
According to WFAA, Campbell had been facing up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine.