Jan 27, 2014 10:01 AM by David Randall
Army Staff Sergeant Matthew Pucino, 34, gave his life serving his country. In return for that sacrifice, his identity was allegedly stolen and used to pick-up women online.
"I was extremely angry. It's very hurtful that you would treat a fallen hero in that manner. He went out and risked his life, day-in and day-out, and that's how you repay him," said Melissa Pucino, a sister.
28-year-old Brandon Ashraf of Upstate New York has now been charged with impersonating Pucino. The Green Beret's sisters helped police find Ashraf after the suspect contacted them in December about a bogus Facebook page.
"At the time, I was in disbelief," said Lisa Haglof, another sister. "We couldn't believe somebody would do this. We looked it up and sure enough there was a fake Facebook page of Matthew."
They soon discovered the Facebook page was not the only fake. They say their own investigation found that Ashraf had been allegedly passing himself off as their brother on a number of online dating sites. He was allegedly using photographs from the foundation website the Pucino family established in Matthew's memory to raise money for wounded warriors.
"He told the police that it all stemmed from a gaming website that he was on and they were all having a contest to see who could catfish the longest or the most women," Haglof said.
They said they know of at least two women who communicated online with the suspect while he was posing as their brother. So we wondered, what the native of Plymouth, Massachusetts would think of his identity theft if he were alive today.
"Knowing Matthew he would probably just laugh and say, that's because this is so pretty,' said his sister, pointing to her face.