A recently found Vietnam veteran has been revealed as a fraud, just one day after the implausible story ping ponged around the world.
The Vietnam Veteran fraud hit news outlets earlier this week with a claim that, after more than four decades, US Army Sgt. John Hartley Robertson had been discovered living in Vietnam after disappearing in 1968.
Sgt. Robertson was last seen when his helicopter was shot down over Laos during a mission and, for about 45 years, remained missing in action.
The man claiming to be Sgt. Robertson told detailed stories of his survival and capture in the Vietnamese jungle, explaining:
“They locked me up, high in the forest, in a cage. I was in and out of consciousness from torture and starvation. The North Vietnamese solider hit me on the head with a stick, shouting, ‘American!’ … Then he would hit me even harder, I thought I would die. I never said anything, though they beat and tortured me.”
But this week, it seemed that the missing soldier had been located, and the story was shared and re-shared — until inexplicably, it was revealed that not only was the found Vietnam veteran fraud tale flimsy, it was long known who the man claiming to be Sgt. Robertson actually was, and the extent of the deceit.
The UK’s Independent revealed the Vietnam veteran fraud just one day after the story hit and added even more cynically sad info — the man who claimed to be the dead or missing Sgt. Robertson had been proven an impostor by DNA testing 20 years ago and had perpetrated the fraud in order to claim veteran benefits.
Jean Robertson Holly, 80, was one of those fleeced by Vietnamese-born French man Dang Tan Ngoc, 76, and Holly had said:
“There’s no question. I was certain it was him in the video, but when I held his head in my hands and looked in his eyes, there was no question that was my brother.”
The Vietnam veteran fraud perpetrator is the subject of a documentary, Unclaimed.