MURRAY – A Holley who falsely claimed he was a veteran of the Vietnam War was arrested Wednesday on felony charges after receiving a significant discount on the recent purchase of a lawn mover, the Orleans Sheriff’s Office reported.
Earl F. Skellen, 69, who has been a member of the Holley Veterans of Foreign Wars for several years, never served in any branch of the military, the Sheriff’s Office said. Skellen was arrested after a two-month probe by Investigator Kenneth Strickland of the Sheriff’s Office and members of the Orleans County Veterans Service Agency.
He was charged with first-degree scheme to defraud and fourth-degree grand larceny. The Sheriff’s Office said that because the suspect claimed to be a combat veteran and a member of the VFW, he was charged only $500 for a John Deere lawn mover that retails for more than $2,000. He faces proceedings before Murray Town Justice Gary Passarell.