The FBI is going after phony war heroes, who often buy medals on the Internet and wear them at public events, USA Today reports. This year, federal agents have started a dozen such investigations. At that pace, the FBI would open about twice as many cases as it did last year. Cases can be difficult to prosecute because the phony heroes must be caught wearing the medal. Because the crime is a misdemeanor, the penalty is small. Of the 38 completed cases in six years, only 60 percent led to convictions.
Support in Congress is growing for the “Stolen Valor Act,” which would increase penalties for falsely claiming to have received any medal. The bill would make it a crime to claim the medal was earned. Now, only those fraudulently wearing Medals of Honor face up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine. The bill would increase penalties for wearing other medals to the same level.