Man charged with submitting forged letter to court

CRIMES: Paper signed by nonexistent doctor

April 29, 2011 

A 42-year-old man has been charged with forgery for filing with Pierce County Superior Court a letter that allegedly falsely claims he received a domestic-violence evaluation from a local Veterans Affairs office.

The letter contains other falsehoods, prosecutors contend , including that John Paul Gibeau retired from the Army as a senior enlisted man with multiple deployments to the Middle East after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Judge Susan Serko on Tuesday issued a warrant for Gibeau’s arrest.

Prosecutors wrote in court documents filed Monday that Gibeau submitted the letter to the court in December, claiming to have received a domestic-violence evaluation from a doctor at the American Lake Veterans Affairs office.

The letter indicates Gibeau was a sergeant major in the Special Forces who’d been deployed to numerous combat zones overseas. It also states Gibeau’s only child died in a car wreck in 2006.

Gibeau provided the letter as part of his sentence from a 2009 fourth-degree assault conviction.

He was sentenced to one year in jail, but the sentence was suspended provided he maintained law-abiding behavior and sought a domestic-violence evaluation.

The letter, signed by Dr. Thomas Smith and stamped with a VA seal, states that Gibeau is not dangerous and that requiring him to attend anger-management classes could “retard his progress with his depression.”

“Medication and individual therapy is the recommendation indicated by both testing and myself after five one-on-one sessions and a review of his military and military medical record,” the letter states.

A Pierce County court commissioner relied on the letter in closing the case and terminating the court’s supervision of Gibeau, court records show.

A witness later informed the Pierce County Clerk’s Office that the letter was a fake and that Gibeau’s child was alive and well, court records show.

That tip was turned over to Veterans Affairs investigators, who discovered Gibeau received a bad-conduct discharge from the Army in 1996 with the rank of specialist.

“In an email, the VA police officer who investigated the matter indicated that the document is definitely forged and that the MD who signed the document does not exist,” deputy prosecutor Grant Blinn wrote in a declaration of probable cause.

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service