Warren Ohio – Keith Chandler of Warren Ohio has been indicted for falsifying his discharge paperwork to get Purple Heart license plates. WKBN 27 out of Ohio reports that a Grand Jury has indicted Warren on seven counts of tampering with records and one count of forgery. Our friends at thisainthell also posted this story when it initially happened.
Prosecutors said he forged his DD214 papers, claiming he was injured in combat overseas in order to get Purple Heart license plates.
WKBN also spoke to several local Vets who were outraged at what Chandler did:
Warren City Law Director Greg Hicks, who is also a veteran, is disgusted by Chandler’s actions.
“Those who did deserve the honor and someone should not take away from that or belittle it or make it less than it is by attempting to get it themselves when it is not deserved,” said Hicks.
Local veterans said Chandler’s actions are a slap in the face to anyone who has made such a sacrifice.
“I find that sad that someone would go and do that. You know so many individuals that were in the combat theatre didn’t get to come home and put a plate on their car,” said Herman Breuer, veteran service commission director.
Purple Heart recipient Gary Gutelius agrees with Breuer. Gutelius received his Purple Heart after being wounded in the Vietnam War. He is also a junior vice commander for the Military Order of the Purple Hearts.
“I can’t believe he would do this knowing he was in the military and knows what we went through. That is what hurts,” Gutelius said.
Members of the various veteran agencies said they plan to be at Chandler’s future court hearings to let him know they are upset.
Chandler was fired on Monday from his job as internet sales and leasing consultant at Sims Buick in Warren. Owners said it was because of an unrelated matter.
Greg Hicks, said the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles brought the case to Warren prosecutors after investigating a complaint.
Hicks said Chandler admits to having falsified his discharge papers. But he said he did it because he was injured in combat while serving in the Marines but never reported it. Hicks verified that Chandler did serve in the Marines.
Hicks, who is a retired lieutenant colonel with 33 years in the Army Reserves, said he finds it “abhorrent” that anyone would try to obtain false recognition of this type because it dishonors all military veterans who earned their Purple Hearts legitimately.
Chandler faces up to five years in prison if convicted, we will keep our eye on this as it develops.
During one of Chandlers court appearances, Veterans showed up to face him.
Courtesy of WKBN
The seats at the Warren Municipal Court were filled with veterans and Purple Heart recipients who were waiting for Keith Chandler, 33, to walk into the courtroom. He is accused of forging his military discharge papers in order to get Purple Heart license plates.
“A lot of our friends, they got the Purple Heart or they earned it. It was given to their mother because they did not survive and I guess we are here because they can’t be,” said Skip Cole, past commander of Military Order of the Purple Heart.
“It is unacceptable. I have been in combat and I have patched up and carried enough veterans that I am here fighting for the ones that could not fight for themselves,” Leo Connelly, commander for the Disabled Veterans organization. “It is unacceptable for you to dishonor my brothers and sisters that have given their life and made the sacrifice. I will fight until the last breath for that honor.”
Chandler’s lawyer, Gary Rich, said his client is a decorated veteran and deserves his Purple Heart, even though he was discharged under other than honorable conditions for misconduct.
“We understand the public’s frustration, but the public does not know Keith Chandler. He did actively serve in three months of active combat. He did receive an award for valor. He rescued one of your fellow reporters from a combat attack,” Rich said.
Chandler waived his preliminary hearing, so his case now goes to a Trumbull County grand jury.
The veterans said they will be at every court hearing until justice is served
We will send for Chandlers records, although it has been verified he did serve in the Marine Corps, I am interested in what his records do show.