Columbia man jailed for wearing military uniforms, medals
Civilian violated 'Stolen Valor Act;' mental treatment ordered
By Luke Broadwater
A 39-year-old Columbia man has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for violating the “Stolen Valor Act,” by purchasing and wearing military uniforms and medals to which he was not entitled, prosecutors said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. DiGirolamo sentenced Chad Chan Dieu Wednesday to 10 days in prison, one year probation with mental health treatment and 100 hours of community service to be served within six months.
Dieu was prosecuted under the “Stolen Valor Act,” which makes it a federal offense to knowingly purchase or wear military medals, badges, or decorations without authority, prosecutors said.
Dieu pretended to volunteer to help wounded soldiers at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, prosecutors said. Instead, from July 15 through Aug. 3, Dieu accessed the base exchange at the center, posing as a member of the Navy, and purchased medals and insignia at the Navy Exchange Uniform Shop.
A service member in the shop reported Dieu to base police as being suspicious, because the ribbons he was wearing appeared incongruous, according to prosecutors. At the time, it was reported that Dieu was wearing a Navy SEAL badge, Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Purple Heart, and other ribbons, prosecutors said.
On July 23, an officer approached Dieu, who was wearing a Navy uniform, and escorted him to the police station to verify his identity. Dieu told base police he was a Navy SEAL and Dieu was released, but further investigation revealed that Dieu was not a Navy SEAL and has never been a member of the military, prosecutors said.
Dieu was arrested on Aug. 3, as he left the Uniform Shop after an investigator saw him pick up previously ordered medals and purchase two Silver Star ribbons, two Unit Combat Action ribbons, a Navy Good Conduct ribbon, and three stars. A subsequent search of Dieu’s car recovered other decorations and medals, according to prosecutors.
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