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Stolen Valor




A man who pretended to be a highly decorated Marine will serve three years of probation, including 120 hours of volunteer work, probably in the service of veterans.

NOTE from Larry Scott, VA Watchdog dot Org ... The article trail on Angel Manuel Ocasio-Reyes looks like this:

FEDS NAB FLORIDA MAN FOR STOLEN VALOR -- Faces counts of falsely wearing medals authorized by Congress, falsely representing himself to have been awarded the decorations and medals, and falsely altering a military discharge form.


FLORIDA MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO STOLEN VALOR CHARGES -- Faces federal charges of wearing or displaying the medals, lying about how he received them and more.


PHONY MARINE CHANGES STOLEN VALOR PLEA TO GUILTY -- Angel Ocasio-Reyes never served in the military but wanted to belong to the American Legion.


Fake Marine sentenced to probation, volunteer work

By ELAINE SILVESTRINI | the Tampa Tribune



A man who pretended to be a highly decorated Marine will serve three years of probation, including 120 hours of volunteer work, probably in the service of veterans.

"I really admire the military," Angel Ocasio-Reyes, 49, said before he was sentenced today for three federal misdemeanor charges under the Stolen Valor Act. "I never meant to hurt anyone."

Ocasio-Reyes, of Lutz, bought a beribboned Marine master gunnery sergeant uniform at an Army Navy surplus store in New York and paid a friend $25 for a DD Form 214, an official military discharge document, showing Navy service.

He altered the form, typing in his address and a slew of medals and decorations, including the Navy Cross, making it appear as though he served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was injured in combat.

He went to American Legion halls - at least three times to Post 148 in Riverview as well as visits to Post 111 in Seminole and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Seminole.

"He fit right in," said Commandant Roger Golden of Marine Corps League 567, who served twice in Vietnam. "You've got a Navy Cross on your chest, you're god. Everybody respects that…We took him to parties with us, we took him to a picnic and then come to find out, it just terrible; it's a big disgrace"

Ocasio Reyes said he was ashamed and embarrassed. "I apologize to all the veterans and all the military and their family … It's a really bad thing that I did."

Veterans who packed the courtroom of U.S. Magistrate Mark Pizzo were unmoved by the defendant's apologies.

"If I see him around the V.A. hospital, I'm going to let everybody around there know who he is and what he is," said Vietnam veteran Dennis Antle of Tampa, who said his brother earned the Navy Cross the hard way. Ocasio-Reyes, he said, is "lower than scumbag."

Eventually, the real veterans noticed inconsistencies in his story, and notified authorities. In March, Ocasio-Reyes pleaded guilty.

Defense attorney Adam Allen said Ocasio-Reyes posed as a decorated veteran "because he looked up to that position, looked up to those awards… It was something that he always wished he had accomplished in life. He was honored to be in the company of those men."

Pizzo today noted that the Navy Cross was created by Congress in 1919 and is the highest decoration given by the Navy for extraordinary heroism that doesn't justify a Medal of Honor. "There have only been a couple thousand Marines who have been awarded the Navy Cross."

Sentencing guidelines called for Ocasio-Reyes to receive between zero and six months in prison, but Pizzo said time behind bars is "not appropriate" for Ocasio Reyes.

Allen said the defendant's father is a military veteran, who has talked to his son about what he did. "He's dishonored his father," the federal public defender said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Hansen said that as a veteran who served more than 22 years of active duty, he was "outraged" at Ocasio-Reyes' affront to "to the honor and integrity of those veterans who earned those medals, often posthumously."

News Channel 8 reporter Krista Klaus contributed to this report.

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I don't know about you guys, but I don't want this guy anywhere near me. He's not fit to push a wheelchair in the VAMC, or even give a vet directions. Those duties are for the decent and noble people who choose to volunteer, not brat wannabees.

This guy was doing a lot more than "looking up to veterans", he was sucking up their admiration and camaraderie and their beer.

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I just don't get these guys that all of a sudden want to be Vietnam Vets? Is it vogue now to say you served in Vietnam?

I myself tell only a very few that I served and don't like talking about it at all. I do like talking to the young troops now that come back and I meet at the legion hall. The majority of them really have their stuff together and are fighting for a noble cause.

To these wannabbes most of us can sniff you out in your first couple of sentences!

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