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Erie County lawmaker wants to make it a crime to impersonate someone in the military

Erie County Legislator Edward Rath III wants to make impersonating a veteran or member of the military a crime.

Rath will introduce Thursday a proposed "Theft of Valor" law that makes it a crime to impersonate a veteran or member of the military for financial gain. Those found guilty would face criminal misdemeanor charges and fines.

"Erie County is joining municipalities across the country that are standing with our military veterans, and admonishing those who falsely present themselves as members of the military or a veteran for personal financial benefit," the Republican lawmaker from Amherst said. "It is incredibly disrespectful of all men and women who have bravely served our country to have individuals who are not only parading around as veterans, but also taking benefits, money or other goods."

The proposed county law follows amendments to the federal criminal laws and provides local law enforcement the ability to arrest and convict those guilty of impersonation for financial gain.

Those found guilty of the proposed county law would be subject to a $250 fine for the first offense and fines of up to $1,000 for repeat offenses.

The law is subject to a public hearing, Legislature approval and approval of the county executive.

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