The Stolen Valor Act: 8 Important Facts

Today, we’re going to talk about the Stolen Valor Act.

Throughout time there has always been cheaters and liars. Some of the lowest, and most disgusting of these are the “wastes of oxygen” who claim they received military awards, and use them to gain respect, money or other benefits.

Please excuse the terminology I use, but the people that would bow to such low levels makes me quite angry. I rate the crime of stolen valor just below child molesters and rapists. That is just my opinion.

In today’s post, we are going to provide you with 8 important facts about the Stolen Valor Act. If you suspect anyone of violating this act, I ask that you please report them immediately to the proper authorities. Only ultimate cowards would falsely claim heroic deeds they did not play any part in.

1: The Stolen Valor Act of 2005

President George W. Bush signed the Stolen Valor Act into law in December of 2006. This act made it a misdemeanor crime to falsely claim the reception of any military award or decoration. The act was introduced by a Congressman in 2005 and strengthened the punishments and the authority of law enforcement. In 2012, the United States Supreme Court found the law was unconstitutional.

2: Freedom of Speech

I mentioned in #1 that the law was found to be unconstitutional on the grounds of the first amendment and free speech. The judges stated that even though lying is morally wrong, the legalities in punishing someone for saying such lies would cause havoc in the court system. If they accepted the law as it was written, there could then be laws punishing any, and all falsehoods.

So if a child tells a little white lie, do we throw them in jail? The justices pointed out that if the liar was using it to gain, the case would fall into a fraud category. When their point is read completely, it is understandable why they ruled in the way they did.

I must mention that this free speech can be used to counter against these people. With the internet, if someone is lying about receiving a military decoration, we have free speech to make the public aware of their falsities.

3: The American Legion

Because of the Supreme Court ruling, the American Legion rallied veterans and during their National Convention in 2012, they passed Resolution #283. They began lobbying Congress to rewrite the Stolen Valor Act so it would have the proper language to punish people who falsely claim receiving top military awards.

4: Stolen Valor Act of 2013

In June of 2013, after passing both the House of Representatives and the Senate in outstanding proportions, the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 was signed into law by President Obama. It was written with the wording that it is a crime if a person knowingly lies about receiving certain military awards for the intention to obtain money, property or any other benefit that provides a valuable gain.

If a person just lies to make themselves look like a hero, but receive no other gain, that is not a punishable offense, but do keep in mind that our free speech allows us the opportunity to tell the people he/she lied to the truth if we have the proof. It is wise to have ample evidence though, because they could sue for libel if they have proof they did receive the award.

5: Certain Awards

Not all military decorations fall into the Stolen Valor Act. If an individual claims they received the Iraq Campaign Medal they do not fall under the scope of this law. The awards that are covered within the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 are:

  • The Medal of Honor

  • The Army Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross and Air Force Cross

  • The Silver Star

  • The Purple Heart

  • The Combat Infantryman’s Badge

  • Any and all Combat Action/Medical Medals, Ribbons or Badges

6: Punishments

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 did make the punishment for this crime a little stiffer. A person caught can receive up to one year in jail and major fines. Some courts are finding other forms of punishment that humiliate the person even further. Thanks to YouTube and other means, we can make sure these “losers” get what they deserve.

7: Obtaining Records

If you are unsure of someone’s service record, there are ways to discover if a person has actually received what they claim. You can visit the National Archives to find Veteran Service Records.

8: Where to Report Stolen Valor

It is very simple… A vast majority of law enforcement are ex-military. They do not take it lightly when someone acts as if they are heroes. File a report at your local law enforcement office. If you want to go further, there are many watchdogs all over the internet you can contact. Try some of these:

  • Guardian of Valor

  • Stars and Stripes

Final Words

I must admit that I am totally disgusted that anyone would lie about serving in the Armed Forces. For anyone to drop this low is just sickening. That is why I should mention that confronting an individual who does this probably is not wise unless you are prepared for stupidity. If they will do this, they could do anything.  Report it to the proper authorities and let them handle the situation.

If anyone reading this is committing Stolen Valor, I suggest you stop now! Lies get discovered and your dignity will be shoved into a deep hole. The power of technology can destroy any possible future you have if you are discovered. I know, because I was able to make life very difficult on some people in a completely different case.

My 23 month old Grandson was, I feel, murdered in 2007. I fought hard and put the information out on the world wide web, along with a book about the ordeal.

While nothing was ever done on Jonathan’s case, because of the information released, the killer will always live a very difficult life when his name is Googled along with the Prosecutor. I understand her law business is in terrible shape along with her reputation.

The same thing can be done to you if you are committing Stolen Valor.

Do you have a story of Stolen Valor you would like to share? If so, we would like to hear it. Please tell us in the comment section below. We also would like to hear your comments, gripes and suggestions. Just keep them clean please. Thank you for visiting and have a great day.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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