Anderson native John Simpson is denying that he lied about his military service.
Meanwhile military investigators are now looking into his charity that sends Marines and their families to Disney theme parks.
In an exclusive interview with the Independent Mail, Simpson, 40, repeated claims posted on the website of his charity, Marines & Mickey, that he served in a Marine reconnaissance battalion and was a Parris Island drill instructor.
His comments contradict information provided to the Independent Mail last week by the Marine Corps Manpower & Reserve Affairs Department spokeswoman Yvonne Carlock. According to Carlock, Simpson did not serve long enough to become a drill instructor.
Carlock said Simpson joined the Marines in 1994. She said Simpson worked as a finance technician before he was demoted to the rank of private and involuntarily discharged as a result of special court martial in August 1997.
Simpson said Carlock is wrong.
"I don't even know what a finance technician is," he added.
Shortly after his charity was founded in 2014, a Florida newspaper described Simpson as a former Marine who had served at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, as well as in Bosnia, Haiti and Somalia.
Simpson lashed out Friday at critics who say he misrepresented his military service to prey upon the mother of slain Marine Skip Wells.
He said men representing the Lance Corporal Skip Wells Foundation who confronted him at a suburban Atlanta restaurant on Feb. 26 are "white-trash morons" whose actions are "the definition of blackmail and extortion." In an earlier statement on the Marines & Mickey website, Simpson said the men told him that they would "come up with allegations to ruin me" unless he gave them control of his charity and its money.
During Friday's interview, Simpson said he is consulting with a law firm in Naples, Florida, about taking legal action. Simpson moved from Anderson to Florida in 2013. He now lives in Estero, which is between Naples and Fort Myers.
The Lance Corporal Skip Wells Foundation is named for the 21-year-old Marine from Marietta, Georgia, who was among five serviceman fatally shot in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last July by a Kuwaiti-born Muslim extremist. The foundation created by Wells' mother, Cathy Wells, and former Marine Jason Weeks has announced that it is no longer affiliated with Marines & Mickey.
Weeks contacted the Independent Mail on March 4 about what he described as a case involving "Stolen Valor of Biblical proportions."
Weeks said that Simpson didn't tell the truth about his Marine service when he approached Cathy Wells at her son's funeral. According to Weeks, Marines & Mickey received $40,000 through joint fundraising efforts with the Lance Corporal Skip Wells Foundation, as well as another $25,000 at the request of Cathy Wells from a fund that former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning created after the Chattanooga shootings. He said Simpson also borrowed $75,000 from Cathy Wells.
Weeks said Saturday that Simpson's comments about blackmail are a "last ill-fated attempt to defend his behavior."
"I don't take offense at his words at all because I am not going to be the one in prison," he said.
An FBI spokesman in Atlanta said he is aware of the allegations that have been made against Simpson.
Also, Naval Criminal Investigative Service spokesman Ed Buice said his unit is "responding to complaints regarding financial practices" of Marines & Mickey. He said people with concerns about the charity can call the NCIS Hotline at 877-579-3648.
No charges have been filed against anyone involved in the case.
Simpson said he has contributed $26,000 of his own money to Marines & Mickey. He said that money and the funds raised in conjunction with the Lance Corporal Skip Wells Foundation have been used to send more than 30 Marines and their families to Disney theme parks, including one this week. He also said his charity has paid for relatives of more than 300 Marines to attend boot camp graduations in San Diego and on Parris Island.
Simpson said he will weather the scrutiny surrounding his military service and that he intends to keep helping Marines.
"I'll be fine," he said. "And I'll send a Marine Corps family to Disney with money out of my own pocket if necessary."