The most recent accusation of an Arizona citizen purporting to have been in the military for personal gain is a guy who is accused of fabricating a service record and exploiting military families.
Over the years, Arizona has seen a number of high-profile “stolen valor” instances, one of which was a Willcox man whose false claims to be a decorated war hero led Congress to establish a legislation banning military impersonations in 2006. According to an inquiry by the Arizona Republic, Matt Augee, the founder of the Phoenix-based nonprofit RecFX Foundation, frequently claimed to have been a soldier and sheriff’s deputy. Law enforcement and the military have no records of it. According to former supporters, Augee is also accused of accepting money for himself and defrauding veterans out of tens of thousands of dollars. Veteran of the Vietnam War and military historian Doug Sterner investigates cases like Augee’s and keeps up the Hall of Valor, the biggest collection of authenticated U.S. military award citations. He claimed that veterans who slightly exaggerate “war stories” about their actual duty are usually not harmful. Instead, the term “stolen valor” is used to describe persons who assert that they served in the military, obtained military decorations, or performed acts of bravery on the battlefield when in reality they did not.