COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A Columbus veteran has been sentenced to one year in prison and three years of supervised release, as well as being ordered to pay $76,000 in restitution to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Gregg Ramsdell, 61 of Columbus, pleaded guilty on Aug. 18 in federal court to one count of false statements and one count of violating the Stolen Valor Act. He will not be eligible for parole.
“Ramsdell’s conduct does a disservice to all of those who exhibit true valor, serving honorably and courageously in our nation’s armed forces. He will pay the penalty for claiming to be the hero he was not, and reaping monetary benefits reserved for our nation’s true heroes,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “I want to thank the FBI for unraveling his lies, and working alongside us and the VA to protect the integrity of a system built only for those who have sacrificed for and served our country.”
A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Ramsdell admitted to falsely claiming he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in order to claim disability payments from the VA back in September 2014. Ramsdell wrote in his application that he had witnessed “horrible atrocities” while deployed in Afghanistan from October 2008 to March 209.
According to the U.S. Attorney, Ramsdell claimed:
Among other stressors, he stated he had seen “men, women and children being executed. Women holding babies while detonating themselves. IED explosions causing severe bodily injuries and death. Retrieving body parts and bagging them. Having blood and body excrements being blown onto my uniform.” He also falsely claimed that these experiences made him “unable to live a normal life.”
Due to these false claims, Ramsdell was awarded additional PTSD benefits retroactive to his discharge from the military on June 1, 2014 which totaled $76,000.
In reality, Ramsdell had not been in Afghanistan when he claimed to witness the atrocities that he says caused his PTSD. He admitted to investigators that he had lied about having the mental illness.