Man allegedly impersonates army general

Feb. 7, 2010 at 3:58 PM

HOUSTON, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Texas man was charged with impersonating a U.S. army general by wearing a uniform laden with military honors, the FBI said.

Michael P. McManus, 44, of Houston Friday faced five federal misdemeanors for allegedly unlawfully wearing an unauthorized uniform decorated with more distinguished combat medals than earned by Gen, George Patton, the Houston Chronicle reported.

"The kicker was the Soldier's Medal; Patton didn't have it. There's no comparison. This guy isn't worthy to lick the dust off George Patton's boots." Doug Sterner, a historian who documents military honors and "poser" cases.

McManus was photographed wearing the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and numerous other medals at a Dec. 12 public celebration of Annise Parker's victory as mayor, federal officials said.

Officials refused to say whether McManus had claimed to have earned the medals or if he merely wore the highly decorated uniform.

McManus faces a maximum sentence of three years in federal prison and a fine of up to $120,000, the Chronicle reported.

McManus served in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1987 as a private first class, the newspaper said.

Approximately 50 people have been charged under the 2006 Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a federal crime to falsely claim to have received a military medal whether or not the accused tries to profit from the fraud, the Chronicle said.

The Chronicle reported McManus' case coincides with federal court hearings on similar cases to determine whether the First Amendment protects people who are untruthful about being military heroes.

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