Friday, February 12, 2010

Vietnam vet lied about Medal of Honor

Vietnam vet lied about Medal of Honor


Published: February 11, 2010

TAMPA - For two years, Vietnam War veteran Gary Amster drove around Florida with a license plate that said he had been awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award.

But Amster never received the Medal of Honor.

A federal jury Wednesday convicted Amster, 62, of three charges - a felony count of lying to a federal agency about having the medal and two misdemeanor counts of falsely representing that he had won the medal.

The felony carries up to five years in prison and the misdemeanors each carry up to a year behind bars. Sentencing is set for April 30.

Defense attorney Michael P. Maddux said Amster wrongly thought he had been given the honor because of a form that was mailed to him by the Army.

"He believed that he was a hero," Maddux told jurors in his closing argument. "Some people need to believe that they're heroes. That doesn't make them a criminal. You shouldn't make him a criminal."

But a federal prosecutor said Amster fraudulently altered the Army form and then used it to fool authorities; he filed the form with the Brevard County Clerk of the Court and then used a copy with the State of Florida seal.
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Vietnam vet lied about Medal of Honor
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