x
Breaking News
More () »

Tyler man indicted for alleged stolen valor to defraud investors

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 makes it illegal to fraudulently wear medals, embellish rank, or make false claims of military service to obtain money, employment, etc.

TYLER, Texas — U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston announced a federal grand jury has returned a 33-count indictment today, charging a Tyler man for fraud schemes in the East Texas.

Derek Robert Hamm, 38, was named in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Tyler charging him with a handful of charges, including: wire fraud, money laundering, violations of the Stolen Valor Act, using a fraudulent military discharge certificate, and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 makes it illegal to fraudulently wear medals, embellish rank, or make false claims of military service to obtain money, employment, property, or some other tangible benefit.

According to the indictment, Hamm held himself out to be a former member of the Army Special Forces who had served multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries.

He claimed to have been awarded a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, and a Bronze Star for his service, but in reality, Hamm received none of those awards.

He also falsely claimed to be related to Harold Hamm, the billionaire oilman in Oklahoma, which he claimed gave him access to financial resources and oil industry expertise.

The indictment alleges that Hamm’s persona of being a wealthy war hero helped him create an extensive network of friends who introduced him to potential investors.

The indictment adds Hamm then defrauded those investors in schemes related to the oil and gas drilling industry, and did not invest funds as promised. Instead, once he received investors’ funds, he allegedly spent the money on lavish personal gifts, including nearly $500,000 on jewelry and vehicles for himself and his family.

The indictment also alleges that Hamm was a prohibited person in possession of firearms and ammunition. In 2020, he was convicted of theft of property (a state felony) in Smith County.

As a felon, Hamm is prohibited by federal law from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.

In 2005, the individual was also convicted for assault of a family member, a domestic violence misdemeanor under state law. According to federal law, he is also prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition due to his domestic violence conviction.

If convicted, Hamm faces up to twenty years in federal prison.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of Derek Robert Hamm, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 903-594-3503. Derek Robert Hamm is also known as D. Wayne Hamm II, Wayne Hamm, D. Wayne H., DW Hamm, and RD Hamm.

This case was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence; deterring illegal possession of guns, ammunition, and body armor; and improving the safety of residents in the Eastern District of Texas. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Tyler Field Office, with assistance from the Tyler Police Department, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, the Phoenix, Arizona Police Department, Smith County Adult Probation, the Texas Railroad Commission-Enforcement Division, Department of Veteran’s Affairs-Office of Inspector General, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts-Criminal Investigation Division, and the United States Special Operations Command. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Austin Wells and Ryan Locker.