“Stolen Valor Act” gains support in military community

News

WESTFIELD Mass. (WWLP) – A local State Representative’s bill is drawing a lot of attention and support from the military community. The bill would prohibit people from faking military service for financial gain.

It was filed by Westfield State Representative John Velis, a Captain in the U-S Army Reserves. He told 22 News it happens more often than you may think. People are falsely claiming to be an active-duty service member or a veteran for money or military benefits. State Representative Velis said, “It can be literally anything, from the most trivial to going to a movie theater and getting a military discount, all the way to the other extreme in getting a VA home loan, applying for a VA home loan.”

There are similar federal and state laws in place, but State Representative Velis’ bill would go one step further. If signed into law, it would make it a criminal offense punishable by one year in prison and a one-thousand dollar fine.

The “Stolen Valor Act” has received bipartisan support in both the Massachusetts House and Senate.

Velis added that too many people have been killed and have lost limbs while fighting overseas. That’s the message he hopes to share with his colleagues to get this bill signed into law.

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