Man Pleads Guilty to Violating Stolen Valor Act

LOS ANGELES — A man who lied during a public meeting about being awarded the nation’s highest military honor pleaded guilty on May 5 to violating the Stolen Valor Act of 2005.

    Xavier Alvarez, 50, of Pomona, said he had served as a Marine and won the Congressional Medal of Honor when he was introduced as a newly elected member of a Claremont water board in July 2007.

    “I’m a retired Marine of 25 years. I retired in the year 2001. Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy. I’m still around,” Alvarez said during the meeting, according to local media reports based on audio recordings from the meeting.

    His attorney, Deputy Federal Public Defender Brianna Fuller, argued that his free speech was protected by the First Amendment. Government prosecutors argued that the First Amendment does not protect deliberate falsehoods.

    His plea with the U.S. Attorney’s Office reserves Alvarez’s right to appeal his case on the basis of a First Amendment challenge.

    Alvarez faces up to one year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine when he is sentenced on July 21.

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