OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
FEBRUARY 9, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OPERATION STOLEN VALOR
RICHMOND MAN INDICTED FOR FALSELY CLAIMING
HE EARNED MILITARY MEDALS
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Richmond, Mo., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for falsely claiming that he was awarded a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for his military service in Grenada.
Timothy James Watkins, 47, of Richmond, was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City.
Watkins allegedly purchased a Purple Heart medal and a Silver Star medal from a pawn shop in the Kansas City, Mo., metropolitan area and falsely claimed that both medals were awarded to him for his military service.
According to the indictment, Watkins served in active duty in the U.S. Army for approximately one month, from July 18 to Aug. 23, 1983, when he was medically discharged. After his discharge, Watkins allegedly began to lie to others regarding his military experiences and background. Watkins falsely claimed that his military service included attending Army Airborne and Ranger training, the indictment says, and falsely claimed that he had served in military operations in Grenada where he was shot by enemy fire and fell off a cliff, injuring his leg. Watkins allegedly claimed that he was medically discharged from the Army as a result of the wounds he sustained in Grenada, but that he was awarded a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for his service. Watkins often wore pins on his civilian clothes that signified a Purple Heart and a Silver Star, the indictment says.
Watkins did not participate in the invasion of Grenada, a Caribbean island nation, in October 1983, according to the indictment, nor was he a member of the Armed Forces at that time.
In March 2005, Watkins allegedly made similar false claims to Adam Kyle, a young boy who was preparing a short paper entitled “The Hero Next Door” for one of his classes at school. Watkins allegedly claimed he was a member of Echo Company of the Second Ranger Battalion and that he parachuted into Grenada with the unit during a nighttime Airborne operation. Watkins allegedly claimed that he scaled a 135-foot rock face with nearly 100 pounds of gear while under enemy fire, and that during his ascent he was shot in the leg and fell approximately 70 feet, breaking his leg. Watkins allegedly told Kyle that he was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star medals as a result of his courage under fire and for the injuries he sustained during the engagement. All of these claims, the indictment says, were completely false.
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed as a result of enemy action while serving as a member of any branch of the Armed Forces. The Silver Star is the third-highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the Armed Forces. It is also the third highest award given for valor in the face of the enemy.
Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at