Vietnam Veteran Charged With Violation of the Stolen Valor Act of 2005
December 11, 2008
We tackled this subject not too long along ago (see Investigation Reveals Some Military Honors Claims are Bogus). We now have a real life example of someone who made claims of being a Vietnam POW and a recipient of four Purple Hearts who is currently being prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act of 2005. Though this isn’t a situation of the employer discovering the falsehood, it easily could be. If this person had the fortitude to stand up in front of a crowd of military personnel and provide an interview to a Navy newspaper making these claims, I doubt he would have thought twice about including it on an application or resume.
Newschannel 4 Jacksonville – December 9, 2008
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 68-year-old St. Augustine resident who told people he received four Purple Hearts during his military service and was keynote speaker at a recent military service is facing federal charges for making false claims.
U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton said Tuesday that Charles T. White was never awarded a Purple Heart. White was charged with violation of the Stolen Valor Act of 2005.
Albritton said White wore a Purple Heart ribbon on various occasions over the past year and had made several verbal claims that he was a Purple Heart medal recipient.
The U.S. Attorney’s office cited an interview White gave to a Navy newspaper about being a featured speaker at a POW/MIA ceremony at NAS Jacksonville earlier this year as one of his false statements. In the newspaper story, White claimed he was awarded 22 military medals, including four Purple Hearts.
In his remarks a the NAS Jax ceremony, White told the crowd he spent more than seven months as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam in 1967-68.
POW Network posted a letter from the National Archives and Records Administration saying it had no record of Charles T. White having ever been a POW. According to his service record also posted on that Web site, White served in the Navy from July 1959 to July 1961 and in the Marines from November 1964 to May 1967. He had achieved the rank of lance corporal when he was discharged.
Mary Schantag, a spokesperson for the POW Network, said they’re the ones that contacted the FBI after she said someone saw the article, and questioned if White was a POW.
“There’s a curiosity. They want to see the story and they want to hear what it’s all about, and they want to know why he was a hero and why he was awarded what he was and how long he spent in captivity. When they can’t find the answer, we usually get the questions,” Schantag said.
She said that same day, they found that the man who gave a keynote speech to other men who served most honorably was not a prisoner of war himself.
“They’re stealing their honor, and they’re literally changing the history of the Vietnam War. Their stories are recorded and they stay on the Internet forever, and they’re forever changing the history of Vietnam with their fairytales,” Schantag said.
If convicted, White could spend up to two years in prison and be fined up to $200,000.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Agency assisted in the case.
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