A Kinsman Township man pleaded not guilty Thursday in Warren Municipal Court to a felony falsification charge for purportedly doctoring his military-discharge papers to obtain license plates saying he had received a Purple Heart.
The Purple Heart is awarded to those who were injured in combat.
Keith Chandler, 33, of Bushnell-Campbell Road, could get up to five years in prison if convicted. He was released after posting $20,000 bond.
Greg Hicks, Warren law director, said the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles brought the case to Warren prosecutors after investigating a complaint.
Hicks said Chandler admits to having falsified his discharge papers. But he said he did it because he was injured in combat while serving in the Marines but never reported it. Hicks verified that Chandler did serve in the Marines.
Hicks, who is a retired lieutenant colonel with 33 years in the Army Reserves, said he finds it “abhorrent” that anyone would try to obtain false recognition of this type because it dishonors all military veterans who earned their Purple Hearts legitimately.