Commander of Veterans Organization Faked Being in the Military, Feds Say

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The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization hands out refreshments at a Vietnam Veterans Tribute, Aug. 8, at Waterfront Park in Beaufort, S.C.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization hands out refreshments at a Vietnam Veterans Tribute, Aug. 8, at Waterfront Park in Beaufort, S.C. (Lance Cpl. Jonah Lovy/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

A woman who led a veteran service organization in Georgia has been charged with misrepresenting herself, state authorities said.

Gabrielle Beutler, 31, was the post commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5897 in Lavonia, Georgia, when the local police flagged the "suspected criminal misconduct" for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), according to a news release from Wednesday, Aug. 17.

The GBI said they discovered that Beutler faked being a veteran, using fake IDs to buy Purple Heart license plates and forging military discharge documents, all of which got her the job at the VFW.

The woman was arrested at her job and charged with forgery, distributing false identification and misrepresentation of veteran status, according to investigators.

Contact information for Beutler's attorneys was not immediately available. But the VFW Department of Georgia told McClatchy News it is investigating the allegations.

"These egregious allegations are in no way representative of the other members of VFW Post 5897 or the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Georgia," a spokesperson said in a statement. "The men and women of our organization are proud of our service and remain committed to performing the mission of serving the veterans, military families, and our communities in the great state of Georgia."

The GBI said the investigation is ongoing and that they're asking anyone with further information to contact their Athens, Georgia, office at 706-552-2309.

Lavonia is about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta.

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