Senate approves ‘stolen valor’ bill

STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Roger A. Picard to allow prosecution of those who falsely represent themselves as a member of the military or a veteran for personal benefit.

            The bill (2022-S 2425A) would make it a crime to fraudulently represent oneself as an active or veteran member of the military or armed forces for the purpose of obtaining money, property or other tangible benefits. The crime would be a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

“Our nation’s service members and veterans have earned the respect of the public and we owe them our gratitude for all the sacrifices they’ve made on our behalf. Those who have never served but who try to cash in on that respect are doing a disservice to veterans and service members, and should be held accountable,” said Senator Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland), who introduced it at the request of veterans.

            In addition to falsely wearing military uniforms or using falsified military identification, the bill would also include falsely representing oneself as a recipient of the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross and other military decorations.

The bill now heads to the House, which last week passed similar legislation (2022-H 7714A) sponsored by Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly).