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'Fake Colonel' Found Guilty As Charged

Jurors in Greenville found an Onslow County man guilty of impersonating a highly decorated Marine colonel.

Photo: Jacksonville Daily News

Jurors in Greenville found an Onslow County man guilty of impersonating a highly decorated Marine colonel.

Michael Hamilton was charged with embezzling $30,000 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, making false official statements, and wearing a uniform and medals he did not receive.

The federal jury took about an hour to reach its decision of guilty on all four counts.

Authorities at Camp Lejeune began investigating the 67-year-old Hamilton after his picture showed up in the Jacksonville Daily News. Hamilton was a speaker at a Vietnam veteran ceremony where he was dressed in a Marine colonel's uniform decorated with four Silver Stars and eight Purple Hearts.

Several people testified that Hamilton had been seen at other military installations in recent years wearing high ranking Marine uniforms. An FBI agent says Hamilton was caught at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk wearing a general's uniform, in the summer of 2000 a Marine 2nd lieutenant saw Hamilton in San Diego at a Marine graduation in a colonel's uniform, and in July 2007 Camp Lejeune got a call about man wearing a lieutenant general's uniform. In that case Marines say Hamilton could not produce ID and was escorted off base.

A records custodian for the Marine Corps says Hamilton was on active duty from July 1961 and April 1962 and never served in combat and was never wounded overseas. Hamilton's own sister testified that after getting his fingers hurt at Camp Lejeune he lived at home with his parents and she could account for where he was between 1961 and 1966. It was during that time period that Hamilton said he was involved in secret operations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Hamilton's trial took place at the federal courthouse in Greenville.

The defense put on no testimony in the trial and Hamilton will be sentenced Aug. 9. He faces up to 16 years in prison and $600,000 in fines.


Jurors now have the case of an Onslow County man who is accused of impersonating a highly decorated Marine colonel.

Michael Hamilton is charged with embezzling $30,000 from the U.S. Department of Veterans, making false official statements, and wearing a uniform and medals he did not receive.

Authorities at Camp Lejeune began investigating the 67-year-old Hamilton after his picture showed up in the Jacksonville Daily News. Hamilton was a speaker at a Vietnam veteran ceremony where he was dressed in a Marine colonel's uniform decorated with four Silver Stars and eight Purple Hearts.

Several people testified that Hamilton had been seen at other military installations in recent years wearing high ranking Marine uniforms. An FBI agent says Hamilton was caught at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk wearing a general's uniform, in the summer of 2000 a Marine 2nd lieutenant saw Hamilton in San Diego at a Marine graduation in a colonel's uniform, and in July 2007 Camp Lejeune got a call about man wearing a lieutenant general's uniform. In that case Marines say Hamilton could not produce ID and was escorted off base.

A records custodian for the Marine Corps says Hamilton was on active duty from July 1961 and April 1962 and never served in combat and was never wounded overseas. Hamilton's own sister testified that after getting his fingers hurt at Camp Lejeune he lived at home with his parents and she could account for where he was between 1961 and 1966. It was during that time period that Hamilton said he was involved in secret operations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Hamilton's trial is taking place at the federal courthouse in Greenville.

The government rested its case right before lunch and then the defense presented no testimony. Jurors got the case at 2:20 p.m.


Previous Story

The trial for the man who made himself known as "The Fake Colonel" started Tuesday in a Greenville courtroom.

The trial is at the federal courthouse.

Michael Hamilton of Richlands, age 67, is accused of embezzling $30,000 in disability payments through pretending he was a decorated marine colonel.

The trial will continue Wednesday.


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