Fake Marine Hero Suspect in Slammer

Richard Glen Strandlof charged under Stolen Valor Act

By Tony Shin
|  Saturday, Oct 10, 2009  |  Updated 10:35 AM PDT
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Fake Marine Hero Suspect in Slammer

FBI spokeswoman Kathy Wright said FBI agents arrested Strandlof without incident.

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Fake Marine Hero Suspect in Slammer

San Diego's probably not a great place to be busted if you're accused of pretending to be a military hero.
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San Diego's probably not a great place to be busted if you're accused of pretending to be a military hero.

Last June, Richard Strandlof was in a Colorado jail for a traffic violation and was interviewed by an NBC affiliate.  "I'm sorry if I hurt you," Strandlof said. The apology was aimed at Veterans and others who believed his lies.

Strandlof told people he served three tours of duty in Iraq and survived the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon. He even claimed to have received the Purple Heart and Silver Star for his heroic efforts.

Strandlof admitted he used his phony war hero image to start up the Colorado Veterans Alliance, a non-profit group that helps homeless vets.

He said he lied because he's mentally ill.  "Sometimes I do not know where, basically in what reality I am."

Rancho Bernardo resident Thomas Richards is a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Marines.  He said all imposters are the same.  "They're pathological liars."

Richards is a real war hero who fought in Vietnam and was awarded the Navy Cross.  He's also one of a handful of Veterans who look for phony war heroes and report them to the F.B.I.  Richards says military imposters need to be punished by going to prison.

"We have a lot of Veterans that actually deserve those kinds of honors, we shouldn't be honoring people who don't deserve it."

FBI agents say Strandlof will most likely be arraigned at the Downtown Federal courthouse on Tuesday. If convicted, he could get up to a year in jail, and a $250,000 fine.

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