Woman Lied to Enter Navy, Get VA Loan

A North Carolina woman who faked her way into the Navy and then used her military status to obtain a Department of Veterans Affairs-backed loan to buy a property in York County was sentenced in federal court Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo ordered Caitlin Lucille Walls Smith, 37, formerly of Wilmington, N.C., to serve 2 1/2 years in prison followed by three years' probation. Smith was also ordered to pay $437,000 in restitution, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Smith pleaded guilty in November to a single count of wire fraud.

The charge stems from a loan Smith fraudulently received for a property in Felton.

Tangled web: Smith, a high school graduate who never completed her college education, applied for an officer position in the Navy's nuclear program in 2008 .

Smith did so under the guise that she held two doctoral degrees, a master's degree and a bachelor's degree, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Smith was accepted into the Navy as an ensign.

In September 2010, she used her military status to apply for, and receive, a Veterans Affairs-backed loan to buy a property in Felton, Heidi Havens, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg, had said.

During the loan-application process, Smith submitted forged and fraudulent bank statements and other documents and in November 2010 received a $437,424 loan that she used to buy the property, according to Havens.

Smith never lived at the property full-time, but did visit it periodically, Havens said.

The Navy found out about Smith's true past and, in 2010, she was court-martialed for false representation during her enlistment. Smith was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison and was dishonorably discharged, Havens said.

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