Woman Will Serve A Year And A Day For Ruse
As a woman in uniform,
35-year old Lisa Jane Phillips got a lot of respect. She also got
more than $41,000 in free tuition, wearing the insignia of an Air
Force captain. Phillips wore medals ranging from the Purple Heart
to the Bronze Star. She claimed to have flown fighters in both
Afghanistan and Iraq.
There's just one thing. Lisa Jane Phillips never served in
Afghanistan. She never served in Iraq. She never flew fighters. In
fact... she was never in the military at all. It was all a
But the prison uniform she's wearing now is certainly real.
Last week, Phillips was sentenced in a Raleigh, NC court to
spend a year and a day behind bars for impersonating a military
Court documents show she bought the medals and the uniforms off
the internet, and started wearing flight suits to classes in August
2002. She explained absences from school in 2003 and 2004 as
deployments abroad.... and even claimed to have suffered
"war-induced anguish", and life-threatening injuries.
The Raleigh News-Observer reports faculty and staff of Meredith
College bought it... even hanging a Blue Star service flag in the
college president's office. The banner is traditionally displayed
by military families to show a loved one is serving in the armed
Perhaps it was the World War II medal she wore on her uniform...
but the police chief at Meredith College became suspicious last
After three years of a spiraling lie that, at one point, had her
claiming to have been awarded medals by the president on Air Force
One... Lisa's game was over. She's apologized to Meredith College
and has paid back the tuition.
So... why did she do it? In a sentencing hearing last week,
Phillip's lawyers told US District Court Judge Terrence Boyle it
started as a simple lie to a friend... and escalated from there.
The lawyers said their client was abused as a child, and abandoned
at 16... and as an adult, was addicted to painkillers and sleeping
"I don't think she intended to dishonor or disrespect anyone in
the military," said one of Phillips' attorneys, William Webb Jr. "I
think she just wanted people to like and respect her."
While her sentence was reduced due to mitigating circumstances,
prosecutors said Phillips needed to serve some hard time for what
they called an "elaborate ruse."
During sentencing, assistant US Attorney David Hayden
-- himself a veteran, according to the paper -- read
excerpts from e-mails veterans sent prosecutors. One email Hayden
read likely sums up the feeling of many legitimate veterans:
"She sought to make herself a hero and example. I say fine --
let's make an example of her so that others will be less likely to