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Ebay promoting "Stolen Valor"


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#1 USMC_GAU-21

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:01 PM

Well I found this on eBay, and I windered where this USMC COL got all his certificates......check this out:

Military Certificates -40 U.S. NAVY-Bulk Certifcate Lot
MILITARY CERTIFICATES - Certifcate Lot of 40 [US NAVY]

Ebay DoD certificates auction


r- Gy Dan

#2 Bob Hudson

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:12 PM

Wow - talk about the makings for fraud.....

Did you check his other listings? He's got a over 500 such listings, but the good news is that if you check his completed listings he doesn't seem to be getting many sales.

medalscerts.jpg

#3 shrapneldude

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:26 PM

No offense here -- but I'm a very firm believer in banning, or punishing criminal BEHAVIOR not inanimate objects.
Yeah, these certificates can be bought by fraudsters and scammers -- but what if uncle Joe lost his Bronze Star cetificate in a house fire back in the '70s and someone wants to get him a new one for his birthday? What if a boy scout wants to include one in a display for his veterans' day project?

Sure -- these certificates make it a LOT easier for someone to scam and lie effectively, but when they get found out, they should get hammered by the justice system.

But you get into the government trying to ban this type of stuff -- what do you end up with? Moral cursaders railing about the evils of buying and selling military items as a commodity -- bans -- the inevitable resultant "black market" of banned items, and an overall complete loss of total history. How many historical WWII firearms were destroyed in the US and abroad because of gun bans? How many MoH's will never see the light of day because of the SVA and the proceeding MoH ban? All the while...scammers, liars, and criminals continue to do what they've always done...why? Because they don't care about the law to begin with...what's another criminal offense to a career crook? People who obey the laws comply, and wouldn't have done anything illegal with the stuff anyhow.

Now that I've ranted though...it's silly that eBay allows blank Award documents but will not allow a WWI Purple Heart ribbon bar be sold.

Edited by shrapneldude, 09 December 2009 - 01:27 PM.


#4 Manchu Warrior

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:26 PM

I have to ask how can you claim that you have a copyright on an item that has the signature of Dwight D. Eisenhower or Jimmy Carter on it? :think:

#5 USMC_GAU-21

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:39 PM

Dan,

You made my point. How can eBay allow the certificates. legit or not, but not a Purple Heart from WWI?

And, if Uncle Joe needs a duplicate certificate, there are proper channels to go through to get it. I needed one for my Navy Achievement Medal I got on cruise a number of years ago, no time for paperwork just the medal, I had it on my DD-214, showed it to our Marine Detachment here at PAX, and I got a new certificate. Al be it, it had the current CO signature, but hey at least that medal now has its certificate.

There are ways for legitimate folks to get these things. Selling this on eBay just opens the door a little to wide for me. But I didn't say I wanted any kind of Government intervention here, just brought up an example of how this COL from another forum post could have generated all those certificates.

r- Gy Dan

#6 Manchu Warrior

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:39 PM

No offense here -- but I'm a very firm believer in banning, or punishing criminal BEHAVIOR not inanimate objects.
Yeah, these certificates can be bought by fraudsters and scammers -- but what if uncle Joe lost his Bronze Star cetificate in a house fire back in the '70s and someone wants to get him a new one for his birthday? What if a boy scout wants to include one in a display for his veterans' day project?

Sure -- these certificates make it a LOT easier for someone to scam and lie effectively, but when they get found out, they should get hammered by the justice system.

But you get into the government trying to ban this type of stuff -- what do you end up with? Moral cursaders railing about the evils of buying and selling military items as a commodity -- bans -- the inevitable resultant "black market" of banned items, and an overall complete loss of total history. How many historical WWII firearms were destroyed in the US and abroad because of gun bans? How many MoH's will never see the light of day because of the SVA and the proceeding MoH ban? All the while...scammers, liars, and criminals continue to do what they've always done...why? Because they don't care about the law to begin with...what's another criminal offense to a career crook? People who obey the laws comply, and wouldn't have done anything illegal with the stuff anyhow.

Now that I've ranted though...it's silly that eBay allows blank Award documents but will not allow a WWI Purple Heart ribbon bar be sold.

I think differently if you have been awarded a medal of any type you should be able to go to the gov. for a replacement certificate if need be even if there is a small fee involved. And I feel strongly that this is the exact type of sales the SVA should stop. And this is coming from a person who purchased a genuine blank AAM certificate at a show a few years ago because I had orders for one and never picked up my certificate when I PCSed from one duty station to another. I will also say I was shocked when the gentleman told me where he had purchased the certificates he had. He claimed he purchased the mountain of genuine blank certificates he had, to include Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts, at a government auction at an Army base that was closing. Why could the government not have held on to the blanks and made sure they had a surplus to supply the soldiers that earned them if need be?

Edited by Manchu Warrior, 09 December 2009 - 01:42 PM.


#7 MAW

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 02:16 PM

Be very careful about giving Ebay any more power, authority or reason to "ban" anything. You might get what you don't wish for.

The whole issue can be solved through personal responsibility.

#8 USMC_GAU-21

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 02:35 PM

I didn't say "ban", I didn't say "Government intervention", I didn't say give eBay more power. I simply stated a fact that doesn't anybody but me think its a little too easy to get these certificates?

The whole issue can be solved through personal responsibility.


Wow....let's not open that can of worms.......

#9 Manchu Warrior

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 02:49 PM

Be very careful about giving Ebay any more power, authority or reason to "ban" anything. You might get what you don't wish for.

The whole issue can be solved through personal responsibility.

I for one believe it goes way beyond ebay and no one should be selling blank certificates. Also, one thing I did not mention was the same gentleman that had the blank certificates was even selling blank DD214's and all one had to do was spend about $20.00 to $30.00 with this guy and you could have had a nice made up military career with all the paperwork to prove it. And I don't know if you can still buy blank DD214's on ebay but they were on there just two short years ago and I do not remember anyone questioning if my DD214 was legit and the ones he was selling looked exactly the same.

#10 shrapneldude

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 03:41 PM

I didn't say "ban", I didn't say "Government intervention", I didn't say give eBay more power. I simply stated a fact that doesn't anybody but me think its a little too easy to get these certificates?
Wow....let's not open that can of worms.......



I agree with you, gunny...100% -- there are plenty of legitimate, legal ways for a "real" award recipient to get the documents and medals he was awarded. Selling the blanks on eBay only paves the way for anyone who wants to BS a military history to do so with ease and, very convincingly.
HOWEVER....

Supporting the SVA and similar legislation opens the door for bans on inanimate objects. As I stated previously, this is total BS. Did it work with prohibition of alcohol?

Ebay's policy of spotty enforcement of THEIR interpretation of the SVA laws is very hard to follow. They'll allow this stuff, and up until very recently, there were even blank citations forthe Medal of Honor for sale on eBay -- but I've seen where they'll cancel all manner of other auctions because of ribbon bars, medals, etc -- none of which are specifically prohibited from sale by the SVA. IF they're going to ban one, they should ban all. I don't think they're "promoting" the Stolen Valor activities, but they're sure as heck not helping the matter by allowing these things be sold -- especially if they're enforcing their rules on other, more historically valuable items.

Back to my argument though -- many times, people get behind this type of legislation because they're offended that people buy stuff and go out and claim to be war heroes. Where does it end? Haven't seen many MoH fakers in a while, but plenty of phonies with Navy Crosses and DSCs. They ban those, everyone will become a Silver Star recipient. Until they make the penalties for the behavior more severe, the senseless banning of "things" won't stop it from happening in one form or another.

What it all comes down to, for me, as a veteran -- it disgusts me to no end that these clowns buy the medals and a uniform and go strutting around calling themselves heroes. I knew heroes...living and deceased, and they were great men. To think that there are scumbags out there too cowardly to have done the things but more than willing to claim the glory and accolade that goes along with it makes me sick. The BEHAVIOR is what disgusts me. I have no problem with collectors or enthusiasts buying the stuff and preserving it, but when they start putting on the uniforms and playacting or whatever they prefer to call it, it's distasteful and disgusting. But that has a heck of a lot more to do with the people and not the things they use or misuse in this case.

#11 hmm161-78/82

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 03:52 PM

DD-214's should definetly be illeagle to sell. Award certificates are more for "show" than official record. DD-214's ARE the official record.

#12 Wolfhounds

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:42 PM

And, if Uncle Joe needs a duplicate certificate, there are proper channels to go through to get it. I needed one for my Navy Achievement Medal I got on cruise a number of years ago, no time for paperwork just the medal, I had it on my DD-214, showed it to our Marine Detachment here at PAX, and I got a new certificate. Al be it, it had the current CO signature, but hey at least that medal now has its certificate.



I wish this were true about being able to replace certificates, but it's not. I tried many, many times over the years to get duplicate replacement certifcates for my Dad's medals from Vietnam, but the government (at least the army anyway) does not issue replacement certificates. They will re-issue medals, but not the certificates. After getting the run-around "through the proper channels" I wrote to, and called two different Senators from my state over the course of a few years and got them involved in the matter. Both Senators from my state were very pro-veteran and they helped me all they could, but to no avail. I wish there was a way for the family to get replacement certificates, especially when you can prove through a DD-214 that the medals were awarded, but they stated more than once, that they will not issue replacement certificates.

By the way, those certificates have been on ebay for years, I contemplated buying some of "those" to replace my Dad's since the government is too damn cheap to replace the originals, but those certificates (most of them anyway) that you find on ebay look like s**t compaired to the real originals. I have seen plenty of original certificates for sale on ebay, and they were exactly what I needed to replace my Dad's, but how do you get all of the "text" that comes from the citation on there ? Not too mention the proper signatures at the bottom ?

Needless to say, I still don't have the certificates, and I wish there was a way to get them, as I would love to have them framed to put on the wall next to my Dad's medals.

#13 Manchu Warrior

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:50 PM

DD-214's should definetly be illeagle to sell. Award certificates are more for "show" than official record. DD-214's ARE the official record.


I understand what you are saying but my problem is that it is illegal to pin a Bronze Star or your chest and go down to Washington on Veterans Day so why should it be legal for just anyone to buy a blank Bronze Star certificate? I simply believe there should a system in place for veterans that need replacement certificates to get them legally as long as they can prove they earned it. Because you may not be able to fool the VA but how hard would it be to fool anyone else if you walking around with fake DD214's and a folder full of fake certificates?

#14 USMC_GAU-21

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 05:27 PM

Dan,

We agree. Isn't amazing how many new "gun"laws they want to come up with when they just enforce the ones we have.

Lawyers......keeps them employed.

As far as the "Stolen Valor Act" was it a knee jerk like Prohibition.....don't know yet. but I agree with your points. Its the people not the inanimate objects that put on the "ribbons & medals.....and pull the trigger"

Wolfhounds, I am very sorry for the Army and the gov't lack cooperation with you and your Dad's certificates. I know there are some reputable sites around with a DD-214 and they can get you the certificates, but "yes" the write up is not there. :crying: I wish I knew how to help you on that front.

VA? VFW? other Veterans organizations? Forum Members who know a guy? I don't know, I can only tell you from my experience as a career Marine.

I guess the "interpretation" of the SVA is like any gov't program up to interpretation......yikes! :pinch:

eBay pisses me off like anyone else, and it is forums like these where we can buy and sell in relative harmony that hopefully will send the message of a free market place.

thanks for weighing in everybody! Good points, counter points.....and we didn't even call each other an ignorant sl*t :rolleyes: :thumbsup:

r- Gy

#15 hmm161-78/82

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 04:10 PM

I understand what you are saying but my problem is that it is illegal to pin a Bronze Star or your chest and go down to Washington on Veterans Day so why should it be legal for just anyone to buy a blank Bronze Star certificate? I simply believe there should a system in place for veterans that need replacement certificates to get them legally as long as they can prove they earned it. Because you may not be able to fool the VA but how hard would it be to fool anyone else if you walking around with fake DD214's and a folder full of fake certificates?


I see your point and I agree. I am thinking of the scenario of some putz getting a blank DD214 filling it out and appling for benifits and /or awards that they are no way remotely entitled to. If he has a good forgery how far could the guy get at his local VA center?

Just wudering? :think:

#16 Jason G

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 05:05 PM

You'd be amazed, and it's been done already.

However, I'd like to see LESS gummint interference, so I'm against banning of selling the certs. Because, simply put, it's the old 'nose under the tent' theory.....once they (the gummint) get their 'nose under the tent' and start banning certificate blanks for sale, the next 'logical' step will be banning the sale of medals....then patches....then uniforms....

Where does it stop?

#17 MAW

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 06:20 PM

DD-214's should definetly be illeagle to sell. Award certificates are more for "show" than official record. DD-214's ARE the official record.



What's to stop somebody from photocopying/digitally editing a "real" certificate, as opposed to getting rid of the blanks? Where there's a will, there's a way. Hold the people who commit the crime responsible.

#18 MAW

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 06:28 PM

Let's also ban uniforms, and patches, and medals (oops....they already started doing that)......and combat boots, and camoflauge, and firearms (oops again....already doing that).......and helmets....and........

....cause someone somewhere might do something bad sometime....even though 99.8% of people won't.

#19 USMC_GAU-21

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 06:47 PM

Jason, good points about getting their nose under the tent! You are right. I want the Government to enforce the laws they have, and when these pieces of feces do forge something or get benefits they don't deserve they need to be hammered! But good! Set an example!

Dan

#20 Jason G

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:35 PM

Gunny, I think that people who do the stolen valor thing are despicable, and SHOULD be hammered. Same goes with those who violate any OTHER laws as well. (Don't get me started on gun law or 'hate' crimes blah blah blah). Why don't we enforce what we have, instead of penalizing law abiding citizens with nonsense, and granting parole/time served/probation before judgement for "It was only his 8th offense".

Sorry, that was my street copper rant. Climbing down from the soap box....

#21 SGM (ret.)

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 08:40 PM

It's been a little while since I retired, so it's possible that things have changed a bit. However I believe there are a couple of misunderstandings here.

Award certificates ARE NOT the authorizing document for any award or medal. At least in the US Army, the award is made official by a published order. Depending on the level of the award, the orders are either published by the unit HQ, the installation HQ, the MACOM / COCOM HQ, or HQ DA. The certificate is nothing but eye candy. Possession of a certificate does not authorize anything. Anyone claiming an award should be able to produce the orders for it. No orders; no award.

IRT the DD214: Only an original signed copy with raised seal is an "official" copy. Photocopies are not good for anything in regards to federal or state benefits. The VA will cross check any claim against the claiment's SSN to verify the service record. A photocopy of a DD214 will not get it. Any civilian job that I've had since I retired that was encumbent upon my service qualifications has had those same qualifications vetted by my employer. Any employer who uses a DD214 as a hiring decision tool and doesn't do the same is foolish, to say the least.

Forgery of a DD214 for the purposes of fraud is a federal crime. Since award certificates have no official standing, the crime with forging them is under the SVA. Both of these crimes can and should be prosecuted, and here lies the problem.

The real problem is not that these documents can be forged, but that the FBI doesn't investigate SVA unless the federal prosecutor says they'll prosecute or the SVA violation has become very public (local or national news story public - not bumming beers at the VFW public) and that publicity factor drives a prosecution. There are several private organizations which will investigate SVA incidents and press for prosecution if the allegations are supported by facts and reliable witnesses. They have a pretty good track record.

If someone here believes that they know and can prove a SVA crime, feel free to PM me, and I'll help you contact somebody that cares. But be advised, it's a slow process and it requires the accuser to do much of the leg work since the feds won't do anything until the case is handed to them on a silver platter.

Mike

#22 pathfinder505

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 08:46 PM

Wow....let's not open that can of worms.......
[/quote]

I agree, don't poke that skunk!

#23 none

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 06:09 AM

I for one believe it goes way beyond ebay and no one should be selling blank certificates. Also, one thing I did not mention was the same gentleman that had the blank certificates was even selling blank DD214's and all one had to do was spend about $20.00 to $30.00 with this guy and you could have had a nice made up military career with all the paperwork to prove it. And I don't know if you can still buy blank DD214's on ebay but they were on there just two short years ago and I do not remember anyone questioning if my DD214 was legit and the ones he was selling looked exactly the same.


You can't sell a blank DD214, if you see someone doing it, call the FBI.

#24 Manchu Warrior

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 09:18 AM

What's to stop somebody from photocopying/digitally editing a "real" certificate, as opposed to getting rid of the blanks? Where there's a will, there's a way. Hold the people who commit the crime responsible.


All the real certificates are embossed so unless you have some really nice die cut embossing machines you will not be able to copy one that would fool anyone that has an idea as to what they are looking at.

#25 Manchu Warrior

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 10:06 AM

It's been a little while since I retired, so it's possible that things have changed a bit. However I believe there are a couple of misunderstandings here.

Award certificates ARE NOT the authorizing document for any award or medal. At least in the US Army, the award is made official by a published order. Depending on the level of the award, the orders are either published by the unit HQ, the installation HQ, the MACOM / COCOM HQ, or HQ DA. The certificate is nothing but eye candy. Possession of a certificate does not authorize anything. Anyone claiming an award should be able to produce the orders for it. No orders; no award.

IRT the DD214: Only an original signed copy with raised seal is an "official" copy. Photocopies are not good for anything in regards to federal or state benefits. The VA will cross check any claim against the claiment's SSN to verify the service record. A photocopy of a DD214 will not get it. Any civilian job that I've had since I retired that was encumbent upon my service qualifications has had those same qualifications vetted by my employer. Any employer who uses a DD214 as a hiring decision tool and doesn't do the same is foolish, to say the least.

Forgery of a DD214 for the purposes of fraud is a federal crime. Since award certificates have no official standing, the crime with forging them is under the SVA. Both of these crimes can and should be prosecuted, and here lies the problem.

The real problem is not that these documents can be forged, but that the FBI doesn't investigate SVA unless the federal prosecutor says they'll prosecute or the SVA violation has become very public (local or national news story public - not bumming beers at the VFW public) and that publicity factor drives a prosecution. There are several private organizations which will investigate SVA incidents and press for prosecution if the allegations are supported by facts and reliable witnesses. They have a pretty good track record.

If someone here believes that they know and can prove a SVA crime, feel free to PM me, and I'll help you contact somebody that cares. But be advised, it's a slow process and it requires the accuser to do much of the leg work since the feds won't do anything until the case is handed to them on a silver platter.

Mike

I promise I will not keep talking about this but I do have some deep feelings on this subject matter. And I just want to point out a few things. I am sitting here looking at my DD214 and it does not have a raised seal on it or even a stamped seal. In fact the only thing official is the stamp on the back from when I filed my DD214 at the court house in Hinesville, GA when I got off active duty at Ft. Stewart. And when I separated from the National Guard they sent me a NGB Form 22 in the mail. And to be honest I never thought much about it but all it is is a computer generated form that also has no seals or embossing on it. It also kind of bothers me that who ever signed it just signed it with a squiggly line and he also signed my Honorable Discharge certificate the same way. And I would like to say in closing that I feel strongly about this because I had even seen soldiers in my own units fake records and almost get away with it and I realized just how easy it was to do it. And then I go to a show and see a dealer selling everything one would need to fake records that he purchased legally at a government auction. And I believe that maybe, at the very least, the government should make it a little harder for posers by not being the legal supplier of blank forms to the general public. One last question. I never received a Honorable Discharge certificate from when I was on active duty and I was just wondering if it is possible to get one without looking on ebay?


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