Fake “war hero” charged with Stolen Valor, claiming combat injuries and awards

Stephen Lang

A Florida man has been arrested for impersonating a veteran after he used a fake DD214 to obtain a job and Purple Heart license plate.

24-year-old Stephen Henry Lang of New Port Richey was arrested Tuesday after the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office was tipped off by investigators in Hillsborough County, who were looking into a separate stolen valor case, according to ABC Action News.

Records indicate that Lang used a fake DD-214 to get a job at Bella Pool Service, which is run by Navy veteran Norm Giunta.

Stephen Lang
Stephen Lang

“If I can teach them a trade depending on their aptitude. We’ll move them up in pay as well as knowledge and give them more responsibility,” Giunta said. “He was in dire need of employment. And me being a veteran myself, I felt compelled to give him a shot.”

Lang claimed to be an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq as a Special Forces weapons Sergeant, stationed at Camp Pendleton- a US Marine installation. In addition, he claimed he was wounded, showing Giunta a toe that the business owner says “looked like it was quite deformed.”

“All the people that come back, and here he is trying to reap the benefits of a seed he had not sown. I was irritated and embarrassed,” said Guinta.

Lang has been arrested twice for claiming to be a veteran in order to receive financial gain, and was fired from both Guinta’s business and another pool company for poor performance. Guinta noted that Lang never carried himself like a veteran.

While Lang impersonated a US Army sergeant, his brother is actually a non-commissioned officer in the US Military.

Lang was released from the Pasco County Jail Wednesday on a $5,000 bond, having accrued felony charges of Unlawful Use of Uniforms, Medals, or Insignia and Uttering Forged Instruments.

Stephen Lang arrest

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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