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3 years in prison for soldier who lied way to Purple Heart

Purple Heart

SEATTLE (AP) — A former soldier who lied his way to a Purple Heart and hundreds of thousands of dollars in government benefits has been sentenced to three years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle issued the sentence Thursday in Tacoma, Washington, to Darryl Wright.

Authorities say Wright, a former National Guardsman, feigned injuries from an explosion in Iraq in 2006 and doctored statements from fellow soldiers to obtain two awards, a Combat Action Badge and a Purple Heart, which is reserved for those wounded in action.

The Army has since revoked those awards, though Wright still has the medals.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud. Prosecutors were seeking a prison term of five years, and they wanted the judge to order Wright to return the medals and a Purple Heart license plate.

Settle declined to go that far, but he did order Wright to repay nearly $650,000 in benefits.