'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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  • by Anonymous on Apr 25, 2011 at 05:37 PM
    I find this entire story sad and unthinkable. Sad, because it's obvious he needs help. I'm not exactly sure how how unstable he is, he seemed to be with it enough to figure out how to run the scam and take money/benefits he had no right to. It is a disgrace to those that wore the uniform and bear the scars of battle. It's not only that it's taxpayer funds, it's much worse because it came from the Veteran's funds. There are so many that struggled and still struggle today that desperately need help. The budget for help seems large to some, but it is so little based on those that need. My son was in Helmand Province, Battle of Marjah, first in and it's likely he will need help, he sees the images in his head every day and wakes many times during the night, twitching. . . startled . . jumpy. . . high anxiety . . always on alert, on and on. He takes so much medicine in an attempt to be normal, his new normal. It scares me that he's stealing from those like my son, now and before him. They all wear scars, some just hide it better than others. They all hurt. Don't steal and disgrace those that fight the battle, that risk their lives and would throw down their life to save their brother. That's what he did. It's not just a crime of an old man. It's sad, very sad.
  • by par-man Location: bayboro, n.c. on Apr 22, 2011 at 08:18 PM
    There's still one more in Jacksonville who lives close to the Air Station they need to get. He's had speaking engagements where he's told that he was a retired Marine colonel, a POW, a sniper, and received several purple hearts. His picture has been on a web-site that shows military impostors and shows he is a fake. This guy served two years in the army and came out a private.
  • by obamanot on Apr 21, 2011 at 05:31 PM
    Looks like he could be a puppet on a vintriloquists lap.Look out obamanut,you have another voter(puppet)!
  • by msfreeh Location: Boston on Apr 21, 2011 at 04:04 PM
    see link for full story http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/01/27/siu.fbi.internal.documents/index.html CNN exclusive: FBI misconduct reveals sex, lies and videotape By Scott Zamost and Kyra Phillips, CNN Special Investigations Unit January 27, 2011 Washington (CNN) -- An FBI employee shared confidential information with his girlfriend, who was a news reporter, then later threatened to release a sex tape the two had made. A supervisor watched pornographic videos in his office during work hours while "satisfying himself." And an employee in a "leadership position" misused a government database to check on two friends who were exotic dancers and allowed them into an FBI office after hours. These are among confidential summaries of FBI disciplinary reports obtained by CNN, which describe misconduct by agency supervisors, agents and other employees over the last three years. Read the FBI documents obtained by CNN
  • by winston Location: greenville on Apr 21, 2011 at 04:01 PM
    AT EASE...smoke'em if ya got 'em...and LIGHTEN UP, will ya? Can't a guy have a li'l fun?
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Apr 21, 2011 at 11:08 AM
    That's a horrible thing to do. My grandfather (former Army veteran, can't remember what troop/division he was) would want him in prison for the maximum sentence. That's a complete disgrace to the ones serving this nation for our freedom.
  • by Gary Location: Ft Eustis VA on Apr 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM
    The story indicated he recieved $30,000 from the VA. He probably could have gotten that much for the hurt fingers that apparently got him discharged. The really bad part of this story is...I'd have just as much respect for a Marine who... did a year and got a medical discharge as I would for highly decorated Colonel. We who have served know where the awards come from and go to. Easter is a good time to discuss what sacrifice and reward really means
  • by Wonder Bread on Apr 21, 2011 at 07:05 AM
    Let me first start by saying, I have not gone through and read all the comments, so if what I am about to say has already been said I am sorry for repeating! What this man did was wrong, but you all are harping on the fact he "stole" $30,000 from us tax payers (yes I am a tax payer), but what I am not reading or hearing from you all is that there are 1,000's of other people "stealing" our tax payers money every day! These people get benefits that range from money, food,power bills,rent,and medical bills. Yes some people deserve them but A LOT do not! I see it everyday and you all are ready to send this man over seas to do probation HAHA How about ya'll get on your soap bax and send the others out to get a drug test and a !@#$ JOB!!!!!!
  • by Anonymous Location: Jacksonville on Apr 21, 2011 at 02:25 AM
    He's not a real Colonel. He was in the military for a year.
  • by Just Wondering Location: ENC on Apr 20, 2011 at 08:16 PM
    To: 250 Too Chea????? Do you mean the French word touche`?
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