A woman in Rhode Island wore a Purple Heart uniform and asked for help as a cancer veteran. She never served in the military.

Sarah Kavanaugh in her Marine Corps uniform sits in front of the Purple Heart display

Sarah Kavanaugh at the August 2021 event. Before being charged with fraud for faking a persona as a veteran.Independent according to court records

  • Sarah Jane Kavanaugh of Rhode Island was sentenced to nearly six years in prison.

  • Cavanaugh pleaded guilty in August to other charges related to wire fraud and document forgery.

  • Prosecutors allege that she used her position to work with veterans to falsify her own documents and medical history.

A Rhode Island woman has been sentenced to just under six years in prison for collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits and charitable donations by posing as a battle-wounded veteran.

Sarah Jane Kavanaugh, 32, was sentenced Tuesday to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $280,000 in damages to the people she defrauded, the Justice Department. was announced.

Cavanaugh pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, forging discharge certificates and misappropriating military medals.

“Sarah Kavanaugh’s conduct in the course of her planning is nothing short of appalling,” said US attorney Zachary Cunha. This defendant exploited the charity and good sense of others for his own shameless financial gain.”

Cavanaugh appeared at the event in full Marine Corps uniform and used fraudulent medals and documents to establish relationships with charities and secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.

She used the money for travel, art program tuition, home repairs, gym memberships, and a mortgage. and provided her with over $207,000 in benefits, including $500 a month for groceries and physical therapy.

Prosecutors alleged that Kavanaugh used his position as a social worker at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Rhode Island to gain access to actual veterans’ military records. She used them to claim her military service, injuries and illnesses, and to steal other veterans’ awards as her own — even though she never served in the military.

According to court documents, records forged by Kavanaugh show that she served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2009 to 2016, was promoted to corporal, earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, and was discharged in December 2016. bottom.

Prosecutors said Kavanaugh used her official work “va.gov” email address to contact a San Diego-based company to purchase military medals in September 2021.

In January 2022, Cavanaugh allegedly contacted a nonprofit to help pay for cancer treatment, claiming he was diagnosed with lung cancer after being exposed to it. burn the pit while serving abroad. Officials at the nonprofit contacted the Rhode Island Veterans Affairs Medical Center and searched the veterans’ database, but found no record of Kavanaugh, court records show.

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