Nogun-ri Veteran Admits to Defraud

By JOHN GEROME
The Associated Press

 
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - An Army veteran who figured in the exposure of the refugee killings at Nogun-ri, South Korea, in 1950 pleaded guilty Monday to defrauding the government. Edward Lee Daily of Clarksville, Tenn., admitted in court that he falsely claimed he was a first lieutenant, a Korean prisoner of war and was wounded by shrapnel, according to U.S. Attorney James K. Vines.

Daily was one of a dozen U.S. Army veterans cited by The Associated Press in 1999 as witnesses corroborating the accounts of South Korean survivors that the 7th Cavalry Regiment killed a large number of refugees at Nogun-ri. Daily later acknowledged he could not have been there at the time, and had learned about the killings secondhand.

From February 1986 through the end of 2001, Daily received compensation from the Department of Veteran's Affairs and its predecessor, the Veteran's Administration, based on an application he filed listing the injury and claiming POW status, Vines said. Benefits included $324,911 in payments wired to his bank and $87,928 in medical care for his claimed service-related disabilities.

Daily was indicted on a charge of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 24 and remains free on bond.

Daily has no listed telephone number in Clarksville and could not be reached Monday for comment. Sumter Camp, his public defender, confirmed Daily's plea but had no further comment.

Investigators said they became suspicious of Daily after he claimed involvement in the Nogun-ri killings. A review of his file found that some documents had been altered, Vines said. Daily admitted in an Oct. 16 interview that he had provided false documents and information to the VA, and had not been involved at Nogun-ri.

A Pentagon investigation last year confirmed U.S. troops killed the refugees at Nogun-ri. At least 35 ex-GIs have described the events to the AP or Pentagon investigators or both. The killings were first reported by a team of AP reporters, who won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

 

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