SALISBURY, Md.- It will be 10 years behind bars for a Wicomico County man who falsely claimed to be a military veteran.
Thirty-four-year-old Jason Scaletta’s prison sentence on Wednesday morning came a day after a Wicomico County Circuit Court jury convicted him of theft of more than $1,000 but less than $10,000, along with possession and use of false government identification. Scaletta was arrested back in June after a police investigation revealed Scaletta was claiming he was a veteran in order to receive benefits of which he was not otherwise entitled.
That investigation revealed Scaletta was receiving help on his rent and electric bills from a veterans support organization. According to military documents that Scaletta provided, he had three deployments overseas and was awarded numerous military service medals and honors. Witnesses from the military testified on Tuesday that the two documents which highlighted Scaletta’s military career were false and forged.
Along with the military benefits that Scaletta received, he was also welcomed into the Veterans Support Centers of America based in Quantico by the program’s founder Jerry Black. Scaletta had provided Black with the same documents that had appeared to detail his military career. Scaletta was eventually hired by VSCOA and became the director of the organization’s service dog training program. However, Black said after Scaletta’s arrest, his organization took a hit in the community.
“So it was really important for me to carry this all of the way through. To come here and testify today. Even though this wasn’t about the dollars for us because we weren’t defrauded. St. James Church was. It was about getting our reputation, setting the record straight. When we did find out who this man was, we went and made sure that he was prosecuted,” Black told WBOC after the verdict was read on Tuesday night.
Witness testimony, along with the initial police investigation, revealed the extent of Scaletta’s military career was the 44 days he spent in basic training; training that he never finished.
Scaletta, who showed no emotion during his sentencing, was given 10 years in prison on the theft charge and six months on the false government ID charge, which will be served concurrently to his 10-year term. He was given credit for time served since his arrest in June.
Click here to view one of the two documents that witnesses testified were forged by Jason Scaletta. Marian Barry, a program manager for the Army National Guard, testified on Tuesday that there were several factors that allowed her to realize the document was not real. Barry said in court that she could not find an actual record of the form Scaletta provided. That form is known as a DD214. Barry said on Scaletta’s version of the DD214, the Social Security number (which has since been redacted) does not belong to Scaletta. Barry said all of these forms are electronically generated, so the two notches at the top of the form that appear to be caused by a hole punch would never show up on the form. Barry also testified that the form was not generated from the correct domestic military fort. Also, at the bottom of the form, where it reads “Ensigned by: Scaletta. Jason,” Barry testified these particularly records read “esigned” and “ensigned” would never appear on any such military document. And finally, the person who is listed to have officially authorized the form, Barry testified that there has never been a person with that name to hold such a position in the Army National Guard.