Kristopher Voyles was six days into his stay at a VA hospital in Tennessee when a family member called the facility, according to federal court filings.
Voyles, it turns out, is not a veteran.
The 31-year-old from Georgia had stolen a veteran’s identity to receive psychiatric care at the VA Medical Center in Johnson City, Tennessee, federal prosecutors said. Voyles was sentenced to two years and three months in prison on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty in January to stealing government property.
He was also ordered to pay $20,502 in restitution to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Tennessee said Voyles “is not a veteran and has never served in the United States military.”
Authorities say he has a history of using impersonating veterans to steal medical benefits from the government.
Voyles was convicted in April 2018 on charges of fraud and forgery after prosecutors said he used a veteran’s identity to get prescription medications of Naproxen, Percocet and Diphenhydramine from the VA Medical Center in Atlanta.
He was sentenced to a year in prison and a year of probation.
While he was still on probation in Georgia, prosecutors said Voyles impersonated the same veteran when he received treatment at Park West Medical Center in Knoxville on Oct. 9, 2019.
Voyles was supposed to be discharged the following day, court filings state, but he asked for a psychiatric evaluation. Believing him to be a veteran, the hospital arranged for him to be transferred the VA Medical Center in Johnson City.
He stayed at the VA hospital from Oct. 10, 2017 to Oct. 17, 2017, the government said.
According to his guilty plea, Voyles got caught after a family member told a VA social worker that he checked in under a false name. Police then determined Voyles wasn’t a veteran, and he was arrested for an outstanding warrant in Georgia.
In his possession, prosecutors said Voyles had proof of military service, a Social Security card and a birth certificate belonging to a veteran with the initials M.H.
Voyles told investigators who interviewed him in jail that M.H. is his uncle and that he got the documents from the VA’s office in Knoxville, prosecutors said.
They subsequently spoke with M.H., who said he knew Voyles but hadn’t seen him in four or five years. M.H. also told investigators he recently received some bills from hospitals in Knoxville that he did not visit and a copy of his proof of military service, also known as a DD214, that he did not request.
“When asked if M.H. gave defendant permission to use his identity and identifying documents, M.H. replied, ‘Absolutely not,’” the government said.
A grand jury indicted Voyles in November 2019, court filings show. He pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property in January.
Prosecutors had pushed for a prison sentence at the top end of the recommended guidelines — 21 months — citing the “repetitive nature” of his offense and criminal history.
In addition to using M.H’s identity at various hospitals in Georgia and Tennessee, the government said Voyles used the veteran’s name when he was arrested on trespassing charges at the University of Tennessee one month before the incident at the VA Medical Center.
Prosecutors said campus police were called because Voyles was in the library “bothering students” by asking for their names and phone numbers.
He was also accused of breaking into his mother’s house in 2016 and stealing her credit cards.