Wife Defends Veteran Husband Accused Of Lying About Purple Heart

BILOXI (WLOX) -- The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has filed a complaint against a Biloxi man accusing him of lying about receiving a purple heart. A medal is awarded to servicemen hurt as a direct result of enemy action.

Kathy Billeaud says she's speaking out to clear her husband Christopher's name, since his lawyer has advised him not to talk.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has filed a criminal complaint against Billeaud saying he changed his discharge papers to show he had received a purple heart.  The V.A. claims Billeaud also received a purple heart designated licence plate, which is free of charge and does not expire.  Additionally, Billeaud is accused of falsely claiming a higher rank. But, Kathy Billeaud says it's all a misunderstanding.

"Yes they're right.  The purple heart has never been awarded, but he has received it through the Veterans Administration."

Kathy says Operation Desert Storm left her husband 100 percent disabled.  She says her husband did receive paperwork from the V.A. saying he was purple heart eligible, but the hold-up was with the Air Force which never awarded him the honor.

"I have the document right here saying from the VA, 'other eligibilities, purple heart recipient,'" says Kathy Billeaud.

The National Commander of the Mighty Order of the Purple Heart, Henry Cook, says Billeaud's story is something he's never seen before.

"Purple Heart Eligible, a person either has a purple heart or they don't. If the Air Force says he did not award a purple heart, then he was not awarded a purple heart."

Kathy Billeaud, however, says she hopes what she believes is just a misunderstanding is cleared up so her husband's name is cleared.