RCMP in Surrey, B.C., are investigating an accusation of “stolen valour” involving a man who has appeared in bi-weekly accessories with a chest abounding of medals claiming to be a abandoned veteran.
According to a chase accreditation obtained by CBC News, Kenneth James French has appeared at Royal Canadian Countless functions, accustomed aliment vouchers from the Poppy Fund and activated for subsidized accommodation advised for veterans.
But searches of Canadian Forces pay systems and account annal allegedly found no trace of anyone with the 49-year-old’s name or bearing date.
And two of his medals are allegedly at allowance with the dates in which French has claimed in media interviews to accept served.
RCMP investigator Const. Jordan Irvine activated for the chase warrant to appropriate the medals and a clothing anorak “adorned with the acme of the Royal Canadian Legion” beforehand this month.
“I accept reasonable breadth to accept that he has acclimated these medals to beforehand a counterfeit adventure that he is a Canadian Forces Adept for the purpose of accepting banking abetment from organizations that accommodate banking abutment or abutment that has a banking amount to it,” Irvine wrote in his application.
“I accept this resulted in French accepting money from the Royal Canadian Countless on two abstracted occasions, fraudulently, and that he has connected to adulterate himself as a adept in adjustment to access subsidized housing.”
‘I am a veteran’
A spokesperson for Surrey RCMP accepted that the chase warrant, filed in Surrey bigoted cloister on Oct. 3, is allotment of an advancing investigation.
French is not adverse any charges.
CBC Account batten to French about the allegations in the adapted barn that serves as his basement accommodation accommodation in the Fleetwood breadth of Surrey.
He claimed he was a veteran.
“I am, and that’s all activity to appear out in the wash, but appropriate now I accept no comment,” French said.
He referred the amount to his lawyer.
“I am a veteran, acknowledge you actual much,” French said afterwards demography a reporter’s card.
“You did serve in the Canadian military?” he was asked.
“Yes, I did.”
According to the chase warrant, French is actuality advised for “unlawful use of aggressive uniforms or certificates,” a abuse of Section 419 of the Bent Code of Canada — bigger accepted in aggressive circles as “stolen valour.”
The analysis began afterwards Irvine apprehend a account commodity in which French claimed to accept served from 1988 to 1999.
“In a account included in the article, it showed French cutting two audible medals: a General Campaign Star and a Cede Medal,” Irvine wrote in the accreditation application.
“Neither badge had anytime been accustomed out to anyone with account in 1999 or prior. As a aftereffect of this adverse advice in the article, I started an investigation.”
According to the warrant, the Royal Canadian Countless accustomed complaints from countless associates about the aforementioned article. Irvine said he batten with the columnist of the allotment and addition commodity that quoted French adage he had 14 years service.
Irvine additionally said he accustomed an email from Canadian Forces Aggressive Badge Sgt. Michael Dorey, who said he arrested all Canadian Forces annal for French with his date of bearing and any variations of his name.
“Sgt. Dorey was of the assessment that no adept would accept account and not be amid by both a account annal analysis and pay annal check,” Irvine wrote.
A account administrator with the Cloverdale annex of the countless told police French allegedly received $250 in aliment vouchers as a donation from the legion’s Poppy Fund.
Another account administrator with the now-defunct Langley countless claimed she provided French with $30 for a hot bowl and $50 in grocery vouchers, and that he bought “a countless hat and tie with the countless logo and white gloves so he could sit with all the added veterans at Remembrance Day ceremonies.”
According to the cloister document, French was allegedly applying to alive in a home that provides apartment for veterans at a bargain amount subsidized by the government.
‘Sacred arena for veterans’
The issue of baseborn valour is acute for the Royal Canadian Countless because the alignment can’t access alone account records. As a result, they await on badge to investigate allegations.
The countless would not animadversion on the B.C. case directly, but referred CBC Account instead to a video statement on the countless website in which dominion admiral Thomas Irvine vowed to “shine a light” on the problem.
“It’s unacceptable,” Irvine says in the video. “Not alone does this abase the honour and cede of those accurately cutting a aggressive uniform, it’s a bent offence.”
In a statement, the Department of National Defence said falsely impersonating a Canadian Armed Forces affiliate is a “serious affair that does a disservice to the appreciative women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces.”
Stolen Valour Canada, a accumulation committed to advertisement “posers and embellishers,” advocates for the case of offences beneath Section 419 of the Bent Code.
“The bodies that abduct valour asperse the account of these people, the cede of these people,” said Gord Swaitkewich, a above soldier and a agent for the group.
“It’s angelic arena for veterans.”
Swaitkewich said an accretion cardinal of cases have been apparent in contempo years through the internet and the close association of veterans.
“We accept bags of veterans out there that are struggling, fighting, accepting to action tooth and attach to get their due from the government,” he said.
“And yet these bodies appear along, they flit along, they’re accepting the chargeless drinks, they’re accepting the chargeless meals, they’re accepting the recognition.”
None of the allegations adjoin French accept been activated in court.
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