In April, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed an amendment to her state’s Stolen Valor Law that will increase its fines tenfold.
Those found guilty of misrepresenting themselves as service members or veterans by wearing any decoration, medal, or uniform will pay $1000 fines — 10 times higher than the $100 fee included in the original law.
“I love what they have done with the new law,” William Phillips, the director of the Veterans Services Center in Lawton, told KSWO news.
I still think it hasn’t gone far enough. As a minimum, they should probably be required on top of the fine to do some civic duty. Put some hours in, bring them into a place like this and make them work for a week,” Phillips said.
Veterans across the country have voiced outrage over the issue. Many find it highly offensive, and this form of fraud has even caused some veterans to take justice into their own hands.
“My belly churns up and I go to knots and sometimes I have a hard time talking about it,” Phillips said.
Oklahoma has joined a growing grow states like New York and Wisconsin, which are cracking down on stolen valor.
President George Bush signed the “Stolen Valor Act” into law in 2006. However, it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012, which decided it is technically protected under free speech. However, Congress did pass a law making it a crime for military impersonators who financially benefit from acts of stolen valor.