Stolen valor is a recurring phenomenon in the United States. Men that have never served in the military will sometimes try to pass themselves off as soldiers in order to receive free meals, VA benefits, or just impress people in their communities.
Understandably, this practice is condemned by members of our military, who have risked their lives in order to have the honor of being called a veteran.
As such, there are scores of online videos showing veterans confronting these imposters, pointing out the flaws on their uniforms or asking them pointed questions about their rank and years of service.
Once these frauds are exposed, they often try to run away to avoid the shame and embarrassment. But for one man in Wisconsin, there was nowhere to run.
From San Diego Union Tribune:
U.S. prosecutors say Kenneth E. Jozwiak produced fake discharge paperwork in 2014 to get U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pension benefits intended for low-income wartime veterans.
In 2014, Jozwiak submitted a discharge certificate that claimed he served as a Navy SEAL from 1965 to 1968 and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
All — including the four Purple Hearts for combat injuries — were totally false, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the northern district of Ohio.
After pleading guilty to theft and filing fraudulent paperwork, the court sentenced 68-year-old Jozwiak to four years in prison.
Many military members are saying this punishment does not fit his crime, and are angered by the fact that he will be getting three hots and a cot in federal prison at the expense of taxpayers.
For other stolen valor offenders, their punishments were much more creative. For example, one man in Florida purchased a Medal of Honor at a memorabilia show and tried to pass off the award as his own.
After being discovered, a judge ordered the man to write personal apology letters to all 174 living Medal of Honor recipients, as well as volunteer at a VA for 250 hours while receiving mental treatment.
While a bit over the top, such a sentence shows the community why masquerading as a veteran is such a terrible crime.
There are men who truly did give all to defend this country and freedom around the world. Their sacrifice should not be mimicked by those who gave nothing.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune