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Stolen Valor - Marine impostor sentenced


This pretend Marine was sentenced in US Federal Court.

A Palm Springs man who wore a Marine Corps uniform with medals and bragged about fighting in a battle in Iraq was sentenced Monday to a year of probation, authorities said.

Steven Douglas Burton, 39, was also ordered to pay a $250 fine and a $25 sentencing assessment by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in Riverside, authorities said.

I have to admit I find the sentence pretty light for someone claiming to have earned the Navy Cross by wearing it. I certainly think it's worth more than a $250 fine and a year's probation. If you hope the law will deter other wanna-be types from becoming imposters, I doubt that $250 will do it.

That said, two things to keep in mind - there was some recourse (i.e. the law gave us a means to do something about this besides just trying to embarrass this slug) and the law was enforced.

And, I would assume part of the leniency had to do with the fact he plead guilty:

In his plea agreement, Burton admitted to wearing the uniform and medals on several occasions, including at least two Halloween parties and his 20-year high school reunion in Martinez in the Bay Area, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Akrotirianakis, who prosecuted the case.

Burton pleaded guilty in December to violating a federal law prohibiting the unauthorized wearing of a U.S. military uniform. The medals that he wore on his uniform included the Navy Cross, authorities said.

He bragged to friends about serving in Afghanistan and fighting in the battle of Fallouja in November 2004.

Additionally, the judge took into consideration, as a mitigating circumstance, that Burton had not worn the uniform for "financial gain or to enter a military base". I think we've had past discussions about the types of "gain" wearing a uniform and medals you're not authorized to wear bring besides "financial".

Good news: he was busted and prosecuted.

Bad news: I think he got off a little light. When you are fined less than some traffic violations, it's not much of a deterrant to others.