Phony war heroes have been exposed by "Guardian Of Valor." The organization is run by a group of veterans and Active Duty soldiers who seek to expose men posing as soldiers and veterans.
Nearly 4,000 men have reportedly been exposed by Guardian of Valor and similar organizations over the last 10 years. Many of those men have used their phony status as a means to gain sympathy or praise. Even worse, numerous fake veterans have collected government benefits.
As reported by NBC News, some of the men have served, but were never involved in combat. One of the men exposed, Danny Russel Crane, referred to himself as "the most decorated man in Florida." Posing as a wounded veteran, Crane reportedly scammed $7,000 out of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In reality, Crane spent only months in the military. Assistant US Attorney Amanda Kaiser states that Crane was often seen wearing numerous medals that he never earned.
On March 14, Crane was sentenced to just over one year in federal prison for his crime. Although 4,000 phony war heroes and veterans have been exposed by Guardian of Valor and similar organizations, many have gone unpunished.
Last year, the Supreme Court decided that, in most cases, phony veterans are protected under the First Amendment. The proposed Stolen Valor Act would have made it illegal to falsely claim veteran status. The act was turned down by a majority vote last June.
Fake war heroes like Crane, who scam the government out of money, can be prosecuted. However, the rest are simply risking exposure by organizations dedicated to refuting their claims.
Investigators with GuardianofValor.com research questionable accounts of service and expose phony veterans and soldiers in their "Hall of Shame." Their mission statement states:
"It may be your First Amendment right to lie about service to this country, and medals earned, but it is our First Amendment right to show the world your lies."
The 4,000 phony war heroes and veterans exposed by these organizations may never face legal repercussions for what they have done. However, they are risking public exposure and embarrassment.
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