California man pleads guilty to posing as Navy officer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Prosecutors say a California man who posed as a military officer and sought donations that he claimed would help wounded veterans has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in the scam.

Sixty-year-old James Barbee of Pacific Grove pleaded guilty to felony mail fraud and misdemeanor wearing a military uniform unlawfully in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday.

Prosecutors say Barbee admitted to using his organization, the Liberty Spirit Farm Foundation, to solicit donations which he spent on himself. He posed as a Navy commander and a military doctor and claimed the donated money would go to veterans with combat-related post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Prosecutors say Barbee collected more than $94,000 from donors in Missouri and California over the course of a year.

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