twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Palm Springs Man in Trouble for Posing as Decorated Marine

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This
steven douglas burton

San Francisco Chronicle: RIVERSIDE, CALIF. -- A Palm Springs man who surprised former classmates at his high school reunion in Martinez when he showed up in a Marine Corps uniform has pleaded guilty to wearing military medals that he never earned.

Steven Douglas Burton, 39, entered his guilty plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Riverside to a misdemeanor count of unauthorized wearing of military medals or decorations, averting a trial that had been scheduled for January.

He will face as much as a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine when he is sentenced March 1. He remains free on $10,000 bond.

Burton, a graduate of Alhambra High School in Martinez, never served in the military, let alone fought in Iraq or Afghanistan, as he claimed. He works at a bank in Palm Springs.

In October 2008, he showed up at his 20th high school reunion at the Concord Hilton wearing the uniform of a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps.

The uniform displayed the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and other medals. That drew the suspicion of former classmate Colleen Salonga, who is a bona fide Navy commander.

Salonga asked Burton to have his picture taken with her. She turned over the photo to the FBI.

In February 2008, Burton had posted on the Internet a picture of himself standing on a beach at Coronado Island in San Diego County, not far from a Navy training base, wearing the uniform of a Marine master gunnery sergeant.

Federal and military investigators confirmed that Burton had never been in the armed forces.

Burton's attorney, Michael DeFrank, said Wednesday, "There is little more I can say about the case, except that more will be revealed about Mr. Burton at the time of the sentencing hearing."

Burton is one of 50 to 60 people who have been charged under the Stolen Valor Act since President George W. Bush signed the law in 2006.

The act, which expanded a law that had applied only to the unauthorized wearing of the Medal of Honor, makes it illegal to wear, make, sell or falsely claim to have earned military decorations.

Read more stories moms are talking about.


next: Costco Pulls Tomatoes from Shelves for Palin's Book Signing
8 comments so far | Post a comment now
wheels305 December 18, 2009, 4:52 AM

WOOOOW THIS IS CRAZY PEOPLE.IT CRAZY PEOPLE CAN POSE AS A SERVICE MAN. IT MAKES MY STOMACH TURN’S THEY DONT KNW WAT WE BEEN THROUGHT TOO WEAR DA UNIFORM. AN TOO EARN THE MEDAL’S THAT WE EARL ON OUR CHEST. THIS MAN HAS DISHONOR NOT HIMSELF BUT HIS FAMILY. THEY SHOULD NOT MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TOO HAVE EASY ACCESS TOO MEDAL’S, AND UNIFORM’S OF DA ARM FORCE’S.

Anonymous December 18, 2009, 4:55 AM

Wow. Really? Another example of how Bush ruined this country… now every kid who plays dress up in his dads old unifirm is a federal criminal, and so is every actor who plays the role of a decorated military man.

This poor schlep was apparently the high school loser who had nothing to show in his life at his high school reunion, so put on a show to impress his old school mates.

Unless a person wears military medals in some fraudulent attempt at gaining benefits fro them, they should just tell him to get a life and let him go.

Jim December 18, 2009, 5:14 AM

I think Colleen took the whole thing a little too far. Turning the photo over to the FBI? Really? I think someone was feeling a little insecure herself.

How dare the government spend money trying to prosecute this guy. It’s not like he was trying to rob fort knoxx dressed as a marine. He was just trying to impress some old school chums. Shame on him, but shame on everyone else taking it soo far.

Wheels305…you need to read a book and work on some spelling, man. You have some issues there.

Ashley Anderson December 18, 2009, 5:22 AM

This makes me want to puke. my best friend is in the marines and is being shipped to Afghanistan in about two weeks. see this makes me think about all the crazy people in the world. it makes me want to punch him in the face. its a disgrace to our country if someone is going to impersonate a marine. it makes me have more respect for those who actually serve for our country.

SpyderMonkey December 29, 2009, 7:56 PM

ATTENTION Anonymous,Jim
This Is A Digrace To All The Men And Woman Who Serve Everyday In Harms Way!
Impressing someone is one thing but this is way Out Of Line No matter what anyone says or how they feel. If You Don’t Earn IT Don’t Wear It!!! and if a Child wears their Parents Clothes I Bet you 10 to 1 That is not what Mr. Bush Had in mind by signing that Law! This LOW LIFE’s and others that pose as Veterans who have Earn These Medals By Putting Themself’s In Harms way, Should be Prosecuted To The Fullest Extent That The Law Allows. This Is Just Like Identity Theft Trying To Take The Honors Of Our War Veterans. I Have served Honorably For The Last 26 years and Will Be In harms way myself soon and this ACT Is Just Totally DISGUSTING no Matter how you view IT!! I Just Wish All My Fellow Soldiers Stay Safe And We All Return Unharmed and Given The Respect We Deserve As We Make The USA Safe For Everyone…..Oh By The Way China Just Execute a Britian For Drug Smuggle Maybe We Should Do The Same Here! But We Don’t WHY? Many Men and Woman Have Died For Us To Have Freedom and Constitutional RIGHT’S Even The Criminals Have Rights In THE GOOD OLE USA…………GOD BLESS ALL OF US and GOD KEEP ALL OF US Even Though We Don’t Allow You In So Many Places In Our Modern Time.

Anonymous May 21, 2010, 4:34 PM

Apparently the poeple who see no problem in this have obviously never served in the military and your opinion should not even count because you have no idea what it takes to earn the uniform and the medals. Especially Anonymous who looks for any reason to blame Bush… bias just a little tad you think?

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 7:26 PM

Great article. Good to read. I’ve got one observation to give about shirts.

Forum grossesse March 5, 2011, 8:43 PM

A formidable share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing a little bit evaluation on this. And he actually purchased me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If potential, as you change into experience, would you mind updating your weblog with more details? It is extremely useful for me. Huge thumb up for this weblog put up!


Back to top >>
advertisement