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DANBURY, Conn. (WPRI) — The East Greenwich woman convicted of defrauding veterans, charities, friends and organizations by falsely claiming to be a wounded Marine veteran has officially started her prison sentence.

Sarah Cavanaugh, 32, was sentenced to serve nearly six years behind bars last month, followed by three years of supervised release. Cavanaugh was also ordered to pay more than $250,000 in restitution.

12 News has learned Cavanaugh has begun serving her sentence at the Danbury Federal Correction Institution in Connecticut. Her release date is slated for March 3, 2028.

Following her prison sentence, Cavanaugh must undergo substance abuse and mental health treatment. She will also be administered up to 72 substance abuse tests annually throughout her supervised release.

An extensive investigation revealed Cavanaugh falsely claimed to be a cancer-stricken Marine Corps veteran who used “that status to obtain money, goods, services, and paid leave from various individuals, charities, and employee benefit programs.”

Cavanaugh’s crimes prompted the swift introduction and passage of a stolen valor bill, which makes the act punishable at both the state and federal levels. Gov. Dan McKee signed the legislation into law last summer.

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