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Palm Springs man charged with wearing unauthorized military medals to surrender

November 11, 2009 |  8:50 am

Medals - Burton at Coronado
A Palm Springs man who has never served in the military is expected to surrender to authorities Thursday to face charges of wearing military medals he did not earn, authorities said today.

Steve Burton, 39, has agreed to surrender at the U.S. District Court in Riverside. He was charged Friday by federal prosecutors in L.A. with the unauthorized wearing of military medals after he was allegedly seen and photographed wearing military uniforms and decorations.

The FBI was contacted by a Navy commander after she attended her high school reunion and saw Burton wearing a Marine Corps uniform displaying several medals, including the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and others, according to an affidavit filed in United States District Court.

The Navy Cross is the highest medal the Navy awards and is the second highest award given for valor, second only to the Medal of Honor.

Suspicious, the commander asked to be photographed with Burton. The photo was used in the investigation. The FBI said it also found that Burton had made Internet postings about being a Marine and had written about his “combat experience” as well as his “service” in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also allegedly posted a picture of himself standing on a beach at Coronado wearing a Marine dress uniform with three rows of medals.

The misdemeanor offense of unauthorized wearing of military medals carries a statutory maximum penalty of one year in federal prison.

-- Baxter Holmes

Photo: Steve Burton posing at Coronado beach. Credit: U.S. District Court.

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