Ex-naval officer gets prison time for 9-11 fraud

December 12, 2011 - 12:40 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A retired naval officer honored for helping rescue fellow Pentagon workers in the 2001 terrorist attack has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for defrauding the Sept. 11 victims' compensation fund.

Retired Cmdr. Charles Coughlin (KOG'-lihn) of Severna Park, Md., claimed he was injured when objects fell on him as a hijacked plane struck the building and again later when he went back inside to rescue others and hit his head. But prosecutors said Coughlin was not hurt and instead used an old injury to get $331,034 in compensation from the fund.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth told Coughlin that stealing that much money from the government deserves a serious sentence. He allowed Coughlin to remain free pending appeal.