The men and women in the military risk their lives daily protecting not only the lives and liberty of Americans, but many others around the world. When we see a service member in military uniform, especially one who has earned medals for bravery beyond the call of duty, we feel pride at their accomplishment and respect their sacrifice for our freedoms. Unfortunately there are those who have not served in the military who do not have the right or authority to wear military uniforms, badges, decorations and medals, but do so anyway to garner the respect and honor they do not deserve.
Joyce White Vance, U.S. Attorney, and Robert Haley III, FBI Agent in Charge, announced that a federal grand jury in Birmingham indicted a Huntsville man yesterday for fraud and unauthorized wearing of U.S. military uniforms and medals. The indictment filed charges Christopher Bernard Graham with one count of fraud in relation to identification documents, two counts of unauthorized wearing of the U.S. Army Combat Uniform and eight counts of unauthorized wearing of U.S. military badges, decorations or medals.
The fraud charge was for the identification card Graham had in his possession that was illegally produced to appear as though it was an actual military ID issued under the authority of the United States. Graham wore the Army Combat uniform between October 2010 and April 2011, and then again from November 2011 and April 2012. During these same time frames, the defendant also wore the Combat Infantry Badge, the Army Ranger Tab, the Army Parachute Qualification Badge and the Army Air Assault Qualification Badge, according to the indictment.
If convicted of the fraud charge, which is a felony, Graham could spend up to fifteen years in prison and be fined up to $250,000. The other charges of wearing an unauthorized uniform or military badges, decorations and medals are misdemeanors, and the maximum penalties for these crimes are six months in prison and $5,000 in fines.