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Thread: Braggarts Beware: Service Lies = Jail

  1. #1
    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Braggarts Beware: Service Lies = Jail

    Article from Army Times

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Blowhards, beware: Fake valor to be felony
    Congress acts to quiet phonies

    By John Hoellwarth
    Staff writer


    Watch what you say at the bar — telling the wrong war story could be a felony by the start of next year.

    The one about that night in Thailand is still legal, but running your mouth about unearned military decorations could cost you jail time and thousands of dollars in fines under legislation passed by Congress on Dec. 6.

    The House passed a Senate-approved bill that would close a loophole in current law allowing poseurs to escape prosecution as long as they don’t physically wear the decorations they claim.


    If signed into law by President Bush, the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 would impose up to six months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines for anyone who falsely claims “verbally, or in writing” to have received an award authorized for members of the U.S. armed forces. Penalties would be doubled for fraudulent claims to decorations specifically awarded for combat valor, such as service crosses, the Silver Star and the Medal of Honor.

    And it’s not just medals — the legislation specifically includes badges, ribbons, buttons, rosettes, “or any colorable imitation of such item.”

    “People are going to have to watch their p’s and q’s when they start telling stories,” said National Institute of Military Justice president Eugene Fidell. “Congress presumably meant what it said here. Blowhards and fakers, beware.”

    Though the law would apply to service members, Fidell said infractions by active-duty personnel likely would be handled under the Uniform Code of Military Justice at the discretion of commanders, not by federal prosecutors.

    During floor debate on the bill, which was passed unanimously by the Senate on Sept. 7, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., cited recent cases in Illinois and Missouri of men claiming to be Marine officers and recipients of the Navy Cross, the nation’s second highest award for valor.

    The Missouri case involved Jim Fields, a legitimate Marine Purple Heart recipient who served in Vietnam, but never earned the Navy Cross he wore while making a Veterans Day speech to the Chillicothe, Mo., chapter of the American Legion.

    When Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., Field’s congressman, found out about the incident, he contacted Salazar’s office to become one of the bill’s 110 co-sponsors. His last-minute endorsement may have provided the impetus for House Republican leaders to get the bill to the floor when some doubted it would be put to a vote before the end of the current session.


    Extract:

    If signed into law by President Bush, the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 would impose up to six months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines for anyone who falsely claims “verbally, or in writing” to have received an award authorized for members of the U.S. armed forces. Penalties would be doubled for fraudulent claims to decorations specifically awarded for combat valor, such as service crosses, the Silver Star and the Medal of Honor.
    Finally, says I, with relief. I enjoy listening to war-stories at the bar as much as the next guy - it's the guys claiming extra insight based on fake awards and imaginary combat that get my goat. Friday nights at the VFW may be a bit quieter now.
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

  2. #2
    Enlightened Despot Member Vladimir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braggarts Beware: Service Lies = Jail

    Quote Originally Posted by KukriKhan
    Article from Army Times

    Finally, says I, with relief. I enjoy listening to war-stories at the bar as much as the next guy - it's the guys claiming extra insight based on fake awards and imaginary combat that get my goat. Friday nights at the VFW may be a bit quieter now.
    Well that would be unfortunate. However I agree that there should be a penalty if you try to gain something (job, promotion, etc) from a false claim but:

    Quote Originally Posted by article
    Though the law would apply to service members, Fidell said infractions by active-duty personnel likely would be handled under the Uniform Code of Military Justice at the discretion of commanders, not by federal prosecutors.
    I think you're misrepresenting the story.
    Last edited by Vladimir; 12-12-2006 at 17:45.


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  3. #3
    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braggarts Beware: Service Lies = Jail

    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir
    ...I think you're misrepresenting the story.
    I don't understand. Violators on active duty are covered by the UCMJ. Violators not on active duty - including veterans - get covered by this new law.

    This would apply to guys like William J. Lawson, who spent six years pretending to be a combat-award-decorated 2-star Marine General, speaking at numerous public events. In late 2005, after a Louisiana journo looked up his record, he admitted getting out of the Corps after 18 months as a PFC.
    Last edited by KukriKhan; 12-12-2006 at 19:14.
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  4. #4
    smell the glove Senior Member Major Robert Dump's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braggarts Beware: Service Lies = Jail

    I'm a bit lazy right now, but theres a site dedicated to nothing but blowing these bogus heroes out of the water. its a crappy site, with poor html, but its a thourough site nonetheless. i happened upon it by accident and didnt bookmark it, but i think its name was "stolen valor" or something of the ilk. ima look for it right now
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  5. #5
    Member Member Spetulhu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braggarts Beware: Service Lies = Jail

    Jail time and fines for lying? A law like that wouldn't be fair and just. It assumes that lying about military awards is automatically worse than other things you can lie about. Someone bragging in local bars is an idiot not worth wasting judicial resources on. He might be guilty of some real crime, though.

    Someone who collects money, favors etc by pretending to be a decorated veteran is a fraud. That crime is already covered in US laws, and I'd assume these laws also say something about taking advantage of a stolen position of respect.

    Falsification of award paperwork used for impressing people? That's surely already covered under other laws?

    Actually wearing medals he hasn't earned? Sure, that might be worth a stern talking-to. Preferably from service members who have the right to wear that piece.
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