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Accused 'fake Marine' appears in court


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A North Carolina man facing federal charges for posing as a decorated Marine was in court this morning. Michael Hamilton appeared in federal court in Wilmington, where the judge read a list of his charges and possible penalties he could face.

If convicted, Hamilton could face a maximum sentence of more than 16 years in prison and $600,000 in fines.

The 67-year-old Richlands man is also charged with telling the VA that he saw bloodshed during combat in Vietnam. A grand jury indicted Hamilton earlier this month on charges that he lied about Vietnam battle injuries and took more than $30,000 in VA benefits for service-related injuries.

Hamilton pleaded guilty last year to altering a military identification card to represent himself as a three-star general. He paid $100 in fines and was sentenced to probation.

When Hamilton left the courtroom he had nothing to say to reporters as he made his way across Princess Street to his SUV. Hamilton is currently undergoing psychiatric treatment.

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Michael Hamilton's posing as a decorated marine is rather sad. Evidently, he has a mental illness, or he would not have behaved in this manner.

Psychiatric treatment is what he is now getting, and I think probation is the appropriate sentence for him.