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FIRM SOLD UNAUTHORIZED MEDALS

The company that holds the government contract to manufacture the Medal of Honor -- the nation's highest combat decoration -- admitted Friday it sold 300 unauthorized medals for $75 each.

H.L.I. Lordship Industries Inc. of Hauppauge, N.Y., said it will plead guilty in federal court Nov. 4 to making unauthorized medals and pay up to $225,000 in fines. Under the plea bargain, there will be no further prosecution of Lordship or any individuals, said its lawyer, Frederick Hafetz.

Neither the FBI nor federal prosecutors would comment.

In the 134 years since it was authorized, 3,401 people have been awarded the Medal of Honor, most posthumously, for risking their life in combat beyond the call of duty.

Hafetz said that a Lordship executive sold 300 unauthorized Medals of Honor to an individual for $22,500 from 1991 to 1994.

Bogus decorations often land in memorabilia shops, which sell them to collectors or people who then pose as recipients.

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