Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The FBI is cracking down on phony war heroes, who often buy medals on the Internet and wear them at public events.

This year, federal agents have launched a dozen investigations against people allegedly masquerading as decorated veterans. At that pace, the FBI would open about twice as many cases as it did last year.

The cases are sometimes difficult to prosecute because the phony heroes have to be caught wearing the medal. And because the crime — unauthorized wearing of military medals and decorations — is a misdemeanor, the penalty is small. Of the 58 cases that were opened by the FBI in the past six years, 20 are pending. Of the other 38, almost 60% ended in convictions.