Feds Say Officer Lied About 9/11 Claim

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Federal prosecutors say a retired Navy commander who claims he was struck on the head by falling debris and injured during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon completed the New York City Marathon 2 months after being “permanently” injured.

     Prosecutors say Charles Coughlin filed a claim with the Victim Compensation Fund, claiming his back and neck were injured during the attack on the Pentagon, and that he could no longer participate in athletic activities, such as running marathons, playing lacrosse and basketball.
     But Coughlin completed the November 2001 New York City Marathon in under 4 hours, according to the complaint.
     Coughlin retired from the Navy in 2002. He filed his claim in 2003, was denied benefits in 2004, and appealed.
     In his appeal, prosecutors say, Coughlin removed from his medical records a documented and “very recent injury which he received while playing basketball.”
     The Victim Fund accepted his appeal and awarded him $60,000, but Coughlin rejected the award and appealed, and eventually was awarded $331,034.
     The United States sued Coughlin and his wife, who the government says provided false testimony. It wants the Coughlins to return their award and pay treble damages and statutory penalties.

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