A quick-thinking U.S. Navy commander has put an end to one alleged impersonator's war-hero fantasies on this Veteran's Day: She helped federal authorities based in Los Angeles nab a Riverside man who has allegedly been parading around in military uniforms and some of the nation's highest military medals.
The 39-year-old, Steven Burton, has agreed to surrender Thursday and make an appearance in court to face a hearing on charges of unauthorized display of armed forces medals, according to Los Angeles-based U.S. Attorney's spokesman Thom Mrozek.
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It all started when the Navy commander attended her high school reunion and noticed a man wearing a U.S. Marine Corps uniform and displaying a Navy Cross, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and other awards, according to a federal affidavit.
She asked to take a photograph with him and then forwarded the image to FBI investigators, who found that Burton had made claims on the internet that he has "combat experience" and has served in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. He also posted a photo of himself posing in uniform on the beach in Coronado, a city in San Diego County.
The Navy Cross is the branch's highest honor, and wearing one without authorization is a no-no. If convicted, Burton could face a year in prison.
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