An Army deserter from North Carolina is facing federal charges for allegedly receiving tens of thousands of dollars in veteran benefits by faking war wounds and military honors.

Roy Lee Ross, Jr., 64, of Morganton, N.C., is accused of defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs by using the name of another Army veteran, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The newspaper reported that Ross faces up to 35 years in prison on charges of executing a scheme to defraud the Veterans Administration, making false statements in connection with the delivery of VA health care benefits, stealing from the VA and making a false claim for travel benefits from the VA.

According to the indictment, Ross claimed that he had served in the Special Forces and had been wounded in combat. He allegedly told the VA he had been honorably discharged from the Army.

After falsely representing himself to the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, Ross was diagnosed with PTSD in 2007 and began receiving health benefits from the VA.

"The actions of the defendant are contrary to the code of military conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose.

"As alleged in the indictment, Ross received thousands of dollars in VA benefits based on lies and a fabricated military career," she said. "Ross allegedly conjured up stories about fighting in multiple wars and receiving the Purple Heart, a distinguished medal presented to our country’s bravest wounded in combat. Now, the scheme has been exposed and Ross, a disgraced deserter, must answer for his actions in a federal court.”

WLOS-TV reported that in 2012, Ross was granted disability-based compensation in a retroactive lump sum of $18,349 and began receiving a monthly tax-free compensation of $1,026.

In addition to his disability benefits, Ross received approximately $57,000 in health care benefits from the VA on false grounds, according to the station. 

The Charlotte Observer, citing the indictment, said that Ross never served in Vietnam or Korea, as he had claimed. He was also not in the Special Forces.

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