Feds may investigate man accused of lying about war records for questionable charity


by Chris Nagus / News 4 and KMOV.com staff


Posted on February 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 12 at 5:49 PM

(KMOV.com) – Federal investigators may now look into a man accused of lying about his war records and using unsuspecting woman to help sell raffle tickets for a money-making scheme.

The News 4 Investigation was picked up by the Stolen Valor Facebook page, a site that outs people who claim fake military credentials.

And because Matt Buckingham told a News 4 investigative producer he works for Homeland Security – which he does not – federal authorities are aware of the story. Sources tell News 4 the man is being investigated by the Internal Affair Department because lying about employment with Homeland Security can be a crime.

When Buckingham recruits women to work for him, he introduces himself as Tyler Matthews.

Whether it’s Tyler or Matt, his phone number is plastered on a Craigslist ad, asking women to apply to raise money for the troops at bars and restaurants. The ad promises up to $200 a night, so one of our producers responded.

He introduced himself as Tyler and went on to tell the News 4 producer about his past.  Buckingham said “I’m not supposed to get any attention because of my job … right now I work for Homeland Security … I’ve been to Afghanistan twice … Marines picked me up when I was 17 … I’m officially in the coast guard.”

But the U.S. Army, Marines, Homeland Security and the Coast Guard said they have not heard of Matt Buckingham or Tyler Matthews.

But it’s part of his recruiting pitch; it’s not the first time News 4 has dealt with a member of the Buckingham family. 

Last year Chris Nagus confronted Matt’s dad Larry, who was running a lawn service and claiming some of the profits were going to the troops.

He told our producer that they were going to donate 20 percent of their profits to veterans.

There were so many complaints involving the Buckingham’s and their yard businesses, mostly centered on Matt, The Better Business Bureau ran out of table space to display them.

And they told us that Larry admitted he was not donating any money to the troops.

In January, Larry registered a new charity for veterans and he’s got Matt out selling raffle tickets to support the troops.

But when News 4’s Chris Nagus confronted Matt about his claims and charity at a Crestwood Bar where he was looking to recruit women to work for him, he got an angry response.

“If you do this I’m going to sue you,” he said. “I’m probably going to sue you for putting my name on last time.”

Buckingham insisted the veterans’ charity idea comes from his heart, and that it’s real.  He insisted there would be a raffle to benefit veterans on July 4 at the Jefferson Barracks or VA hospital.

The BBB helps track charity websites here.