|Topic||Participation and Valor Fraud|
|The recent publicity surrounding the
Stolen Valor Act and the
Supreme Court review of its constitutionality certainly makes you wonder
about the size of the problem the law is trying to contain. The
Stolen Valor Act is focused on fraudulent claims regarding acts of valor
and valor medals, but the problem is much larger. Claiming to have
participated in some well known event, for example, The Battle of the
Bulge, or The Battle for Iwo Jima or similar; or even just claiming to
be a vet, would not be done unless the claimant was trying to get
something -- if nothing other than attention and adoration. The
problem appears to be growing because military service and being a vet
are highly honored in our society at the present time (not always true).
A while ago I investigated one of these "participation claims" that sounded a bit strange and concluded that the claim was fraudulent. What I did not expect to find was that the size of the problem was much larger than I thought. I found numerous estimates including some approaching 50%. That number is hard to believe, i.e. that half of all such claims are bogus ... I suspect that the number is much bigger than most people think. A few interesting statistics (quotes from various sites; no verification of these numbers has been done)
Some fraudulent claims are actually believed to be true by the claimant. Over time their recollection of "the facts" becomes fuzzy and heroes are born. In some cases, fraudulent claims are made because of ignorance about the award. Many stories in the media claim that individual Tuskegee airmen won the Congressional Medal of Honor. In fact, the unit was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal; but it is not too hard to understand how the "facts" got a little screwed up.
Below are links to a few of the web sites that are involved in ferreting out the frauds
What was the
name of the Fort Lauderdale
man who wore his unearned Medal of Honor for 10 years while speaking at
functions, marching in parades and reviewing ROTC troops?