WARREN - A 55-year-old Girard woman who was indicted for tampering with her military records to get benefits was granted a chance at mental health counseling.
If successful in what is known as intervention in lieu of conviction, Shirley Doughty of East Wilson Avenue could see her third-degree felony charge of tampering with records dismissed by Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice.
If the woman fails to complete the counseling laid out by her probation officer or fails to follow other rules spelled out by the court, Doughty could wind up in prison.
Rice decided on the intervention Thursday after Doughty pleaded guilty to an amended charge of attempted tampering with records.
Doughty, who is represented by attorney Robert Shaker, was arrested at her residence Dec. 11 after Trumbull County Sheriff's Office Major Tom Stewart filed a warrant for her arrest on the tampering charge - punishable by up to three years in prison.
Trumbull County Veterans Commission in Warren reported that on Aug. 20, Doughty applied for financial assistance from the Veterans Administration, according a sheriff's office report.
Doughty had copied a DD214 form and made changes on the discharge, "such as medals she had received in the Army, etc." The report states that Doughty's signature on the DD214 was in the wrong place and in blue ink and that the area of separation on the form wasn't signed. She also gave the wrong Social Security numbers for both of her children, the report states.
According to the VA office in Warren, Doughty, who was given a general discharge, did not serve long enough in the military to receive benefits from the VA.
She had asked for $2,150 in financial assistance for herself and her children.
Investigators also claim that Doughty lied about being an Iraq war veteran and being a Purple Heart recipient to receive special Purple Heart license plates for her vehicles.