Stolen Valor: Gun Store Robber Tried to Get Off Easy by Claiming Purple Hearts

Purple Hearts
The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration. (U.S. Marine Corps)

Convicted felon Marcos Guzman tried to get on the good side of probation officers in upstate New York with a bogus tale of combat heroics that he claimed had earned him two Purple Heart medals.

The feds saw through the ruse: The Purple Heart certificates and photographs turned out to be fakes, and now Guzman faces more jail time.

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Guzman, 36, pleaded guilty July 2 before U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Wolford in Rochester, New York, to "making fraudulent representations about the receipt of military medals."

He faces the possibility of one year in jail and a $100,000 fine when he is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 12, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office for the Western District of New York.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who prosecuted the case, said in the release that Guzman lied to the U.S. Probation Office about his military service and being awarded two Purple Hearts in a bid to get a lower sentence.

He claimed to have served with the National Guard in Iraq for 18 months and been wounded twice while coming to the rescue of another soldier on the battlefield.

Guzman was already doing time after being convicted in April 2019 of participating with two others in the robbery of Chinappi's Firearms & Supplies, a gun store in Spencerport, New York, about 11 miles west of Rochester.

The U.S. Attorney's office said 87 weapons were stolen, most of them handguns, and many were later sold on the streets of Rochester.

"For a convicted armed felon and thief to attempt to receive leniency for his criminal acts by fraudulently cloaking himself in an honor reserved for our bravest of military heroes is the antithesis of honor," said James P. Kennedy Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Western District.

Guzman's fraud is "deserving of special recognition -- in the form of its very own criminal conviction," Kennedy said in a statement.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at

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