Showing posts with label phony veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label phony veterans. Show all posts

Monday, February 3, 2020

Stolen Valor: AWOL after boot camp, faker charged with stealing from American Legion

Man Headed to Trial for Stolen Valor

WNEP ABC 16 News
FEBRUARY 3, 2020
Crawford’s DD 214 discharge form would have shown that he went AWOL after a few months of Army boot camp in 2007.

Instead, Crawford told members at the American Legion that he was an Iraq war veteran injured in an IED explosion.
SCRANTON, Pa. — A man from Scranton will stand trial for impersonating a veteran.

Prosecutors say while Christopher Crawford was lying about his military record, he was stealing money from the American Legion in the city where he was a member.

Crawford was serving as an officer at American Legion Post 568 in the Minooka section of Scranton. Last summer, his fellow officers reported Crawford for allegedly stealing $16,000 from the organization. That’s when it was also discovered that Crawford was not a veteran at all.

The veterans we spoke say between those two sets of charges, it’s the stolen valor, not the stolen money, that hurts most.
read it here

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Civilians punished for pretending to be Veteran's Court

2 men falsely claimed military service to get their cases moved to a veterans court

Associated Press 
August 25, 2019
Before they can be eligible for parole, Pinski ordered both men to hand write the names of all 6,756 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; write out the obituaries of the 40 Montanans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and send hand-written letters of apology to several veterans groups identifying themselves as having lied about military service to receive help and possibly a lesser sentence through a veterans court.
The first Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) was started in 2008 in Buffalo, N.Y. There are 220 operational VTCs in the United States with approximately 11,000 veterans currently participating. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Two Montana men who were sentenced to prison for violating the terms of the probation in separate crimes won’t be eligible for parole until they complete a writing assignment given because they falsely claimed to have served in the military to have their cases moved to a veterans court. Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski sentenced Ryan Patrick Morris, 28, and Troy Allan Nelson, 33, on Friday. Morris got 10 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation for felony burglary, while Nelson got five years on a drug possession conviction. Pinski suspended three years of each defendant’s sentence. read more here

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Con-combat veteran Marine nabbed by honorable one

Man's tip led to arrest of US Marine accused of posing as decorated combat veteran

Al Pefley
November 27, 2018
Finally, he got Haerlin’s military records that show although he was in fact a Marine, Haerlin never served in combat and he was discharged “under other than honorable conditions.”

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBS12) — A Port St. Lucie man is accused of posing as a decorated combat U.S. Marine veteran who served overseas.

This case started a few months ago, when sheriff’s detectives got a tip.

The tip came from a real U.S. Marine veteran who says he had information that bothered him so much, he had to go to law enforcement.

“It is a shame, in every sense of the word. It’s a shame,” said Robin Barker, a Port St. Lucie resident.

Barker spent two years in the Marine Corps in the 1970’s.

He’s the man who went to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and provided a tip that led to the arrest this week of 56-year-old Cary Haerlin.

“When I realized over a period of time that he was a master at deception, I wasn’t gonna let it go,” he said.
read more here

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Stolen Valor--giving fakes the attention they did not want!

They called the police on these guys and that is the best way to stop them!

Best Stolen Valor Fights 2018! Instant Karma - Instant Justice

Monday, March 21, 2016

UK Fraud Duped Veterans Charity Caught By Walter Mitty Hunters Club

Ex-soldier who lied about fighting in Afghanistan duped veterans' charity who gave him place in street transformed by William and Harry on DIY SOS
Daily Mail 
PUBLISHED: 07:21 EST, 20 March 2016
Princes Harry and William helped out on BBC One's DIY SOS last October as they worked to build homes for ex-servicemen
Serviceman went AWOL for two years but never deployed to Afghanistan
Charity says it is indicative of a greater problem amongst veterans in need
Giles is due to move out this week to a one-bed flat elsewhere
An ex-soldier who lied about fighting in Afghanistan tricked a charity into giving him a home on the veteran's street transformed by Princes William and Harry on DIY SOS. Aiden Giles, 27, claimed to be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after coming back from Afghanistan.

As a result, Giles played a part in the BBC programme, which was broadcast last October, and even moved in to a renovated house on the Manchester street.

Instead, defence sources revealed that when Giles's unit moved to the Hyde Park barracks in central London, he went absent without leave (AWOL) for two years.

It is suspected that he had gone to the Greek island of Zante, where his mother was living.

On top of this, during a spell in military custody he was released from the army but struggled to cope with civilian life and became homeless.

Giles's DIY SOS fraud was first exposed in December by The Walter Mitty Hunters Club.
read more here

Saturday, March 19, 2016

UK Walter Mitty Hunters Unmask Hundreds of Fakes

Vigilantes Unmask Hundreds Of Fake Veterans
The Walter Mitty Hunters Club tells Sky News that fake soldiers are an insult to those who have lost loves ones in combat.
Sky News
By Sean Dilley, Sky News Reporter
March 19, 2016

An online group of vigilantes who investigate army service records say they've unmasked more than 300 people who have exaggerated or entirely fabricated military service and honours.

The Walter Mitty Hunters Club HQ told Sky News: "It's an insult to all those who have worked hard, felt the pain, and in some cases, lost people close to them.

"There is also an abuse of charity resources, for example, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) charities where people will make up a service career to gain an advantage.

"In turn, the real people in need of help have to wait longer or don't get it at all. It's getting worse and needs to stop."

They argue that a US-style stolen valour law, where those wearing military uniforms for financial gain face prison time, would solve the problem.
read more here

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Fake Iraq Veteran Got Free Drinks Then Wrote About it?

Backlash grows after column sparks outrage 
Citizens Voice
Published: December 29, 2015
The public backlash against the Weekender continues to mount following a column in last week’s edition in which a writer boasted about scoring free drinks at a bar by pretending to be an Iraq war veteran.

Veterans expressed outrage, with some accusing the writer of “stolen valor.”

One of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s leading civil rights activists launched a petition demanding apologies — from the columnist all the way up to the head of the Weekender’s parent company, North Carolina-based Civitas Media, which also publishes The Times Leader.

The writer and the Weekender’s editor have issued public apologies, but some local businesses still vowed to pull their advertising and stop distributing the free weekly entertainment newspaper.

“R bar and grill Nanticoke will NEVER advertise or distribute this paper again. It’s a disgrace to all of NEPA. pathetic!,” Lauren Temarantz Maga, owner of R Bar and Grill, proclaimed on her Facebook page with a link to the column.

“We come from a family of veterans,” Maga said Monday. “The men and women that serve are heroes.”

Maga said the business called the Weekender offices Monday to demand they stop delivering the paper to the restaurant.

River Grille in Plains Township did the same.

“We haven’t advertised with them in a long time anyway, but we don’t want to have the paper even available at the bar anymore,” River Grille manager Erica West said.

The controversial column, titled “Free drinks come at a price,” was written by Justin Adam Brown, who was laid off in November as a full-time staffer, but continued to write his weekly “Sorry mom and dad” column. Last week’s column described his musings about a summer night out when he and a friend ran into a drunk Vietnam veteran. He said it was then he “discovered the secret to getting a free drink” as a man at a bar.

“Just say you’re a veteran,” Brown wrote.
read more here

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stolen truck, stolen pain, stolen suffering from fake veteran?

Man who claimed to be a homeless veteran speaks out
Brian Entin
Jul 18, 2014

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. - John Vigil claimed to be a homeless veteran and is out of jail and not wanting to answer most questions.

A spokesman with the U.S. Air Force said Friday that they have no record of Vigil serving in the Air Force.

"Yes, I was in the military. (Reporter) How come the military has no record of you ever being in the military? Because that is classified," Vigil said.

In May, dressed in uniform, Vigil said he was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and was homeless.

He said he suffered from PTSD and was living out of a Penske truck with his animals.

"This is what is left of my existence," Vigil said.

Patty Steenbuck, a Lantana resident who heard his story, took him in because she felt bad for him.

Police charged Vigil with battery and say Steenbuck had multiple injuries.

"(Reporter) Did you hit her? No.," Vigil said.

Vigil insists we don't know the entire story, but he would not elaborate.

He is denying that the Penske rental truck was stolen out of Colorado.
read more here

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Man accused of making false report, pretending to be a veteran

There are only a few things in this world I have no tolerance for. Stolen Valor, claiming to be a hero with medals, is at the top of the list. Civilians claiming to be a veteran is number two. I have spent my entire life with veterans and still amazed by them. For someone to just say they are one makes my stomach turn.
Scotts Valley man accused of making false report, pretending to be a veteran
March 14, 2014

Scotts Valley police officers arrested a 22-year-old man they say called in a fake report and pretended to be a military veteran.

Officers received a call on March 7 from a man who claimed he had been having a conversation with his neighbor in which he told the neighbor he was an Iraq War veteran and that he had several firearms for sale. The caller, who police have identified as Christopher Michael King, told police that at the end of the conversation, the neighbor pointed his own fully automatic rifle at him.
read more here

Monday, May 20, 2013

Faked Mil Service Attempt to Cheat Mortgage

Feds: Faked Mil Service Attempt to Cheat Mortgage
May 20, 2013
Orlando Sentinel

No lie was too big to tell for an Orlando woman who wanted a new home in Pensacola, but didn't want to pay the mortgage for her Orlando home, federal officials said.

Chantal M. Lanton, 37, of Orlando is accused of falsely claiming to be an officer in the United States Air Force who was being deployed to Germany when she let her home loan go into default in February 2011.

She did so in an attempt to receive foreclosure-protection benefits that are available for service members, federal officials said.

Lanton never served in the Air Force or any other branch of the U.S. military, officials said.
read more here

Sunday, March 6, 2011

VFW post commander resigns amidst allegations of fabricated war record

VFW post commander resigns amidst allegations of fabricated war record
Written by Elizabeth Larson
Saturday, 05 March 2011
LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A local man has resigned his post as commander of the Lakeport Veterans of Foreign War post in the midst of allegations that he falsely claimed to have served in Vietnam.

Robert Lawrence Deppe, 57, of Upper Lake submitted a letter of resignation in mid-February after members of the VFW Post 2015 confronted him about the allegations, according to Post Adjutant Kirk Macdonald.

Lake County News reached Deppe via e-mail but he refused to comment for this story.

Earlier in February Macdonald said it was brought to the attention of post members that Deppe was “possibly not eligible to be a member of the VFW because his military record was not valid.”

Macdonald said post members also learned at that time about Deppe's arrest on Feb. 9 for felony passing a fictitious check and misdemeanor petty theft.

Capt. James Bauman said Deppe turned himself in at the Lake County Jail shortly after midnight on Feb. 9 following an investigation into allegations that he took money from his brother-in-law, who lives with him.

Deppe allegedly took eight $100 bills and five $20 bills and replaced them with fake bills. Bauman said Deppe also is alleged to have taken to two $100 bills from his wife's purse, also putting fake bills in their place.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff said Deppe has been charged with forgery and felony petty theft.

Post members asked Deppe to respond to the allegations regarding his arrest and military record at the Feb. 14 meeting, Macdonald said.

They also asked him to sign a Form 180 so his military record could be accessed and verified, according to Macdonald.

“Mr. Deppe chose to write a letter of resignation as commander of the post and also to be removed from the roles of the VFW membership,” Macdonald said. The resignation reportedly went into effect on Feb. 16.

Macdonald said Deppe wouldn't respond directly to the questions about his record, and made no admissions one way or the other.

While the allegations were new to the local post members, questions of Deppe's military record have been arising for several years, according to Mary Schantag, who along with her husband Chuck, a Vietnam veteran, founded the nonprofit POW Network,

“He has been doing this for years and has been exposed, and had been exposed in the past,” Schantag said of Deppe in an interview with Lake County News.

Schantag said Deppe had been under investigation since 2005, after he posted a story on the VFW 2015 Web site, which came to the attention of POW Network members.

Deppe had claimed on the VFW Web site – which he helped administer – to have been a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army form 1971 to 1974, receiving the Purple Heart, as well as the Silver and Bronze Stars. He also said he was a Ranger on Company H, 75th Infantry, Third Brigade, First Cavalry Division.
read more here
VFW post commander resigns amidst allegations of fabricated war record

Saturday, January 29, 2011

FBI Arrests Alleged Phony SF Colonel

FBI Arrests Alleged Phony SF Colonel

January 25, 2011|by Bryant Jordan
A man who claimed to be a retired Green Beret colonel and an expert in the international sex-slave trade has been arrested in Maryland by the FBI.
An FBI spokeswoman said William G. "Bill" Hillar was charged with mail fraud in connection with a scheme to use bogus military and academic credentials toward teaching and training employment.
For years Hillar allegedly scammed universities, non-profit groups and law enforcement organizations by claiming his daughter was kidnapped by human traffickers in Asia and that he spent months in a failed effort to rescue her. He parlayed his “expertise” and faux Army Special Forces career into thousands of dollars in teaching and lecture fees.
read more here
FBI Arrests Alleged Phony SF Colonel

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fraud man claimed to be Medal of Honor vet for money

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta is the first living soldier to get the Medal of Honor since Vietnam! This has been all over the news. People schuder ran into would know that if they paid attention. Do they care about veterans? Yes, enough to help this fraud, give him a ride, meal and money. Do they don't care enough to know what is going on? It's not really their fault since the TV-Cable media are too focused on other things and they would have to hunt for the information.

Schuder falsely told Rhinehart he was a Marine and a Medal of Honor winner, the affidavit said. He later acknowledged that police had stopped him earlier this year in Indianapolis and in Lebanon, about 20 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

Man accused of posing as Army vet to get money

By Ken Kusmer - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Sep 10, 2010 18:06:50 EDT

INDIANAPOLIS — A man masquerading as a down-on-his-luck soldier needing travel funds scammed good Samaritans out of nearly $500 before police caught up with him, a prosecutor said Friday.

James Schuder, 43, of Indianapolis, faces seven misdemeanor counts each of deception and panhandling. He was being held on $14,000 bond Friday at the Johnson County Jail in Franklin, about 20 miles south of Indianapolis. Seven counts carry maximum penalties of a year in jail and $5,000 fines. The others have penalties of 60 days and $500 fines.

“Somebody impersonating someone in uniform ... taking advantage of people like that, is just despicable,” said 61-year-old Ken Bush of Greenwood, one of Schuder’s alleged victims.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department said Schuder, with his hair cropped short and wearing Army combat fatigues, approached people to ask for money to buy plane tickets or cover other travel expenses, or to get free car rides to nearby towns.

There’s no record of Schuder ever serving in the military, authorities said.

read the rest here

Man accused of posing as Army vet to get money

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Now he has the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to worry about

Biker who spoke at East Tennessee churches target of TBI probe
Lester says all he did was 'say some things I shouldn't have'
By Matt Lakin

Ernie Ray Lester says he made his peace with God.

Now he has the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to worry about.

"I didn't do anything but go to churches and sing and say some things I shouldn't have," Lester said Tuesday. "It's a wonder God didn't just strike me dead for going around and saying what I did. I've asked for counseling. I've asked for help. I've told my mom I'm sorry. I've asked forgiveness for the things I've done, and my father above has forgiven me."

Lester, 52, spent the past few years visiting churches around East Tennessee with his testimony of how he turned to God after a cold welcome home from service in Vietnam and more than a decade collecting drug debts for motorcycle gangs. He didn't tell those congregations about a misdemeanor record, a bankruptcy or that he graduated high school three years after the U.S. began pulling out of Vietnam.
go here for more
Biker who spoke at East Tennessee churches target of TBI probe

Monday, December 14, 2009

Stolen Valor:Steven Douglas Burton

Military Impostors Are Neither Few Nor Proud

Richard C. Paddock
San Francisco Correspondent

(Dec. 14) -- Steven Douglas Burton wore the Marine Corps uniform proudly. He had rows of medals, including a prestigious Navy Cross, a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

He posted a photo of himself in uniform and blogged about serving one tour of duty in Afghanistan and four in Iraq. He was at the Battle of Fallujah, he said, and praised the doctors who "patched us up."

But Burton wasn't a hero. He was a fraud who purchased medals online.

A scam that began two years ago when Burton wore a Marine Corps uniform as a Halloween party costume ended Monday with a guilty plea in federal court in Riverside, Calif.

Burton, a 39-year-old bank employee from Palm Springs, was unmasked after he wore the uniform of a Marine lieutenant colonel to his 20-year high school reunion. A classmate who was a Navy commander became suspicious of his story, got him to pose for a photo and handed it over to the FBI.

Burton pleaded guilty to a single count of the unauthorized wearing of a military medal. He faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for violating the Stolen Valor Act, which prohibits wearing an unearned medal or falsely claiming to have earned one.

"The defendant was wearing some of the highest military honors given in this country for valor," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Akrotirianakis, who prosecuted the case. "He never served in the military."
read more here
Military Impostors Are Neither Few Nor Proud

Saturday, October 3, 2009

POW veteran fraudster 'living a lie'

POW veteran fraudster 'living a lie'

October 03, 2009
Article from: Australian Associated Press
THE Federal Government has referred a case of alleged fraud involving a man who claimed to be one of Australia's youngest prisoners of war to the Australian Federal Police for investigation.

South Australian Arthur Rex Crane, 83, has been on the highest level of service pension since 1988 and is the Federal President of the Prisoners of War Association of Australia, Fairfax Media reported.

He has alleged he was captured by the Japanese in 1942, became a prisoner of war at 15 and was imprisoned in Singapore's Outram Road jail.

But the Sydney Morning Herald reported that throughout the war the 83-year-old lived in Adelaide and had never served in the military.
read more here,25197,26159772-5006784,00.html

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In Ranks of Heroes, Finding the Fakes

I don't know if these people will ever understand how many other people they are hurting. Worse is that I don't even know if they care at all.

Because of these fakes and frauds, it makes it all the more harder on the real heroes. They not only had to prove themselves in combat, they had to prove themselves with claims to the VA, to veterans organizations and now, they have to prove it all over again. A data base would be very helpful with this however, that is, as long as what it put in is right and all paperwork errors have been found and fixed.

I don't want to bore you with the story of my husband all over again, so the short version is, his award for a Bronze Star had the wrong social security number typed in. This caused a cluster of accusations, his VA claim to be denied and a lot of doubt. We had a newspaper clipping his mother kept from a local paper announcing the award. We had all the paper work with all the official seals and signatures. What we didn't have was the right social security number. That was pretty hard on him to have to prove it all over again, but when I was put in contact with a general's office, all the paperwork supported the truth, it was corrected and his claim was finally approved. How many others did this happen to? How many others didn't keep all their paperwork after Vietnam? What if my husband tossed his paperwork in the trash the way he wanted to over 30 years ago? We'd have no proof of anything even though he was telling the truth. We have the fact his mother raised him to be a pack rat the way she was with saving papers.

Too many others are not so lucky.

The only way a massive data base could ever be a good thing is if they went through everyone's files to make sure all the pieces of paper in the file belonged to them and not someone else. I'm sure somewhere there is a veteran with papers that belong to someone else but because the social security number came up it was attached to someone else's name. Can they do that? Can they go through every piece of paper for every service man or woman before they even attempt to do it? I doubt it. No one has that kind of time.

We can't even trust some of the data bases we use. Most of them have a disclaimer saying their information is not complete. With the Medal of Honor, it is easy to have an accurate data base since so few really received the award. The lower the award, the more recipients of it and it gets harder to find all the information. It would be so much easier on the veterans if they didn't have to go through any of this unless there was a technicality but because of the frauds wanting to use what they did not earn, it makes it all the more difficult for them. It is a betrayal, a theft and should be treated like a crime, which it is but somehow I doubt all the frauds out there have been found. While they wanted publicity for what they stole, they should get publicity for it when they have been found to be lying. For the others with possible mistakes on their records, their claims should be treated as if it is possible and taken seriously. Knowing a fraud that got away with it for a time does not make up for a real veteran suffering for a mistake he did not make. What is justice in this case and how do we arrive at it as soon as possible?

This article points out that the Internet is very helpful in all of this but no site can have every single piece of information no matter how good they are at it. It takes diligence from the rest of us.

If you ever talk to someone claiming to be a veteran with awards, do some checking to see if they are telling the truth. You never know when you can help catch a fraud or help a veteran with no clue errors were made in their case.

In Ranks of Heroes, Finding the Fakes

Published: August 1, 2009

Last August, the Texas Department of Transportation started asking applicants for more documentation after discovering that at least 11 of the 67 Legion of Merit license plates on the roads had been issued to people who never earned the medal.

Last September, the House of Representatives passed a bill naming a post office in Las Vegas after a World War II veteran who, it later turned out, had lied when he claimed he had been awarded a Silver Star. The legislation was rescinded.

In May, one of the most prominent veterans’ advocates in Colorado was detained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after it was discovered that his story about heroic service in Iraq and severe injuries from a roadside bomb was an elaborate hoax.

Military imposters are nothing new. But the problem has grown or at least become more obvious as charlatans are easily able to find fake military documents, medals and uniforms on auction Web sites.

Last month, The Marine Corps Times found 40 erroneous profiles in this year’s Marine Corps Association Directory, including false claims of 16 Medals of Honor, 16 Navy Crosses and 8 Silver Stars.

read more here

In Ranks of Heroes, Finding the Fakes