Phony War Hero Sentenced for Damaging the 'Prestige' of Decorated Service Members

McGuinn was sentenced to one year of probation, 100 hours of community service.

ByABC News
April 2, 2008, 4:15 PM

April 2, 2008— -- A New York City man, who was exposed for wearing an impressive array of distinguished service decorations he did not earn, was sentenced today for the "likely damage" he caused "to the prestige" of the men and women who have rightly earned service medals.

Louis Lowell McGuinn, 68, was sentenced today to one year of probation and 100 hours of community service. Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox said he considered the "likely damage the defendant caused to the prestige" of those who legitimately earned the medals and chose the community service portion of the sentence to "redress damage to the community because of the defendant's misconduct."

McGuinn pleaded guilty in December. He had claimed to be a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army and often appeared at military events sporting such distinguished medals as the Purple Heart, the Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross, according to the complaint in his case.

But law enforcement officials said it was just a ruse, according to the complaint, and McGuinn had actually been discharged as a private from the Army in 1968 with none of the decorations he wore.

McGuinn's ploy started to unravel after the executive director of the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines & Airmen Club learned McGuinn could not provide documentation for his honors, and the director subsequently notified authorities in 2006.

McGuinn was later caught on camera at a social event at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, wearing several distinguished medals and badges.

FBI agents arrested him last April and charged him with wearing medals without authorization, the charge to which he pleaded guilty.