Judge forces men who lied about military service to wear 'I AM A LIAR' signs

Judge Greg Pinski addressed the concept of stolen valor
Photo credit © TRACI ROSENBAUM/GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE, Great Falls Tribune via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Two men who lied about their military service received quite the punishment, after appearing in court Friday for unrelated probation violations. 

Ryan Patrick Morris and Troy Allan Nelson both appeared before Montana Judge Greg Pinski hoping to enter his Veterans Treatment Court and receive lesser sentences, according to KRTV.

In 2017, The Great Falls Tribune reported Morris plead guilty to felony burglary. In his initial appearance, he claimed to have completed seven combat tours to the Middle East and experienced combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder from an IED-related injury.

Neither incidents were found to be true and according to NPR, his own father called a Veterans Court coordinator and revealed his son never actually served in the military. Morris was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with three years suspended.

Nelson, however, managed to enroll himself in Veterans Treatment Court but was later found to be a fraud the Tribune reported.  He received five years for felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs with two years suspended.

During their court proceedings, Judge Pinksi read the names of service members from Montana who had died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before the men are eligible for parole, they face the following punishments:

  • Hand-write the names of all 6,756 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Write letters of apology to the following veteran service organizations: American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of American, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Vietnam Veterans of America.
  • Hand-write obituaries for the 40 Montanans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Complete 441 hours of community service.

The Cascade County judge also required that each year during their suspended sentences both men must wear a sign at the Montana Veterans Memorial during Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies while under court supervision.

The signs will read: “ I AM A LIAR. I AM NOT A VETERAN. I STOLE VALOR. I DISHONORED ALL VETERANS.”

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