John Golino’s record of service in Vietnam includes some horrific actions, like being forced to shoot a teenage girl armed with explosives and watching a booby-trapped baby explode.
But, the stories are false. He admitted to making them up to collect almost $80,000 in veterans benefits, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Golino, who lived in North Haven and has since moved to Naples, Florida, never went to Vietnam, officials said.
The 61-year-old was in the Navy, but worked as a mail clerk aboard the USS Sperry.
He submitted a fraudulent military discharge report claiming post-traumatic stress disorder for enhanced disability benefits, according to the U.S. Attorney.
The only legitimate injury on his record in a wrist injury, officials said.
Golino’s application for veterans benefits includes three different encounters he claimed caused him to have PTSD.
He claimed was hit by shrapnel in his wrist and leg from Viet Cong soldiers in a Cambodian village.
The second encounter, he said, was having to shoot a teenage Vietnamese girl before she could throw a satchel full of explosive.
The third encounter was witnessing a booby-trapped baby blow up in the hands of his friend while they were out on patrol in Vietnam.
He fabricated all of them, according to the U.S. attorney.
On Sept. 9, 2009, Golino was confronted about false accounts of his military service and admitted that he was never a Navy SEAL, had never been in a combat situation, had not earned a Purple Heart, and that he had never been to Vietnam, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Golino will be sentenced on Dec. 20, and faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.