It was August 2005, two years into Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Darryl Lee Wright claimed he was on patrol in Kirkuk, Iraq when an explosive bomb was fired at the Humvee he occupied. He said the attack left him with post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury. As a result, he would lie in the fetal position in his bed most days, unable to hold down a job, cook meals or button his shirt”, the Washington Post reports.
But prosecutors say Wright lied about the bombing, and other military personnel who were present at the scene, say the rocket missed by more than 300 feet, and no one was injured. Moreover, although Wright was at the site, he never made mention of any injuries. “As far as anyone on our team getting hurt, no, that didn’t happen,” then-Capt. Mark Moeckli said, according to the Post.
Prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence Wright to five years in prison because he falsified statements to receive a “Combat Action Badge” and the “Purple Heart.” Once he obtained the medals, he wrongfully used his alleged diminished mental and physical capacity to get a broad range of “disability and other benefits, including forgiveness of more than $40,000 in student loans,” according to the Associated Press. Federal prosecutors say Wright cheated the state of Washington and the federal government out of more than $750,000.
Wright’s attorney has suggested that his client continued to suffer PTSD and was entitled to most of the benefits he received. He is seeking a term of one year. The judge has asked for additional reports before pronouncing sentence.