Columbia Man Sentenced to 10 Days in Jail for Purchasing and Wearing Navy Uniforms and Decorations
Convicted Under the Stolen Valor Act
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. DiGirolamo sentenced Chad Chan Dieu, age 39, of Columbia, Maryland, late yesterday to 10 days in prison, one year probation with mental health treatment, and 100 hours of community service to be served within six months, for purchasing and wearing military uniforms, medals, badges, and decorations to which he was not entitled. Dieu was prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a federal offense to knowingly purchase or wear military medals, badges, or decorations without authority.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Rear Admiral Matthew Nathan of the National Naval Medical Center.
According to court documents and testimony at the hearing, Dieu pretended to volunteer to help wounded soldiers at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) in Bethesda, Maryland. Instead, from July 15 through August 3, 2009, Dieu accessed the base exchange at the National Naval Medical Center, posing as a member of the Navy and purchased medals and insignia at the Navy Exchange Uniform Shop. A service member in the shop reported Dieu to base police as being suspicious, because the ribbons he was wearing appeared incongruous. At the time, it was reported that Dieu was wearing a Navy SEAL badge, Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Purple Heart, and other ribbons.
On July 23, 2009, base police received a tip that Dieu was in the Uniform Shop. An officer approached Dieu and escorted him to the NNMC police station to verify his identity. He was wearing a Navy uniform at that time. Dieu told base police he was a Navy SEAL and Dieu was released. Further investigation revealed that Dieu was not a Navy SEAL. In fact, Dieu is not a member of the armed forces of the United States, and there is no record that he has ever been a member of the military.
Dieu was arrested on August 3, 2009, as he left the Uniform Shop after an investigator from the Criminal Investigative Division of the Naval Medical Center Police Department, saw him pick up previously ordered medals and purchase two Silver Star ribbons, two Unit Combat Action ribbons, a Navy Good Conduct ribbon, and three stars. A subsequent search of Dieu’s car recovered other decorations and medals.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Hollis Weisman, who prosecuted the case.