A Tempe (AZ) man is accused of telling a tall tale about his supposed military service to obtain veteran status for his driver’s license and vehicle plates.
The Arizona Department of Transportation says the agency’s detectives have arrested 45-year-old Eric Wolfe on suspicion of forgery and using falsified documents.
Wolfe was booked Tuesday into the custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed a direct complaint against Wolfe for three felony counts of forgery and possessing a forged instrument. Wolfe’s initial court appearance was Thursday.
ADOT officials say Wolfe submitted a falsified DD form 214 in March to a Motor Vehicle Division representative to get the special license designation. That form is a separation document military members receive when they are formally discharged from the military.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, however, determined Wolfe never served in the U.S. Air Force as he claimed.
Wolfe also allegedly used the forged documents to get license plates designated for veterans in March and last month — one for his car and another for his new motorcycle, investigators say.
ADOT’s Office of the Inspector General says it’s continuing its investigation of Wolfe to determine if he used the fraudulent credentials to defraud businesses and other organizations for a business, Project 22 LLC and a non-profit organization called Freedom K-9 Rehab. On the Arizona Corporation Commission website, Wolfe is listed as the sole member of Project 22, a limited liability corporation. He’s president and director according to that same database for Freedom K-9 Rehab, again, a non-profit organization.
Wolfe purported he founded Project 22 because he lost too many comrades to suicide. He supposedly partnered with the Arizona Animal Welfare League where he allegedly works as a dog trainer to train dogs to become service dogs to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Newly released court documents reveal: “As part of his continuing scheme to raise money for his business, Project 22 and his non-profit organization, Freedom K-9 Rehab, Wolfe claims to be a Wounded Warrior Veteran of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria Wars as a dog handler with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. He has appeared in public on several occasions telling his story and has received money from different organizations for himself and his businesses.” According to the Veterans Administration, this Eric Wolfe is not a veteran and has never served.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 27. Court records show a public defender has been appointed to represent him in the criminal matter.