Gov. Wolf signs ‘stolen valor’ bill

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Gov. Tom Wolf has signed legislation that makes it a crime to lie about military service and decorations to obtain money, a job, or other benefits.

House Bill 168, now Act 9 of 2017, says a person who economically benefits from lying about military service or decorations can be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor. Those convicted would face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

“This legislation is incredibly important because Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veteran population in the country and it is our duty to be certain that benefits for those veterans are available to those who have earned them,” Wolf said in a statement.

The measure cleared the Senate by a 49-0 vote last week, two months after it was unanimously approved by the House.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny/Washington), said it would protect the honor and valor of America’s veterans.

“An individual commits this crime if they intend to benefit by fraudulently presenting themselves as a member of the armed serves and/or the recipient of a military award,” Saccone said. “Criminalized behavior would range from lying to receive veteran or health care benefits to fraudulently obtaining preference in a government contract or a job reserved for a veteran.”

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