Lee County man accused of ‘stolen valor’

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Jack Ottenwalder. Photo via the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. A 34-year-old man turned himself in Tuesday for allegedly falsifying a veteran’ document, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said.

The investigation began in January when deputies responded to a Lehigh Acres home where Jack Ottenwalder was found as a wanted person.

Deputies recovered a possible fake certificate of release or discharge from active duty, commonly known as a DD Form 214, was found with Ottenwalder’s personal information on it, deputies said.

However, deputies found some of the information suspicious, so the document was turned over to the sheriff’s office for further investigation.

It was later revealed the document was indeed fake. The dates, duty stations, training, and awards were exaggerated, according to deputies.

A copy of Ottenwalder’s valid DD Form 214 from the United States Army Human Resources Command showed he never received any decorations, medals, or campaign ribbons and was released from duty with an entry level separation code, not an honorable discharge, deputies said.

Ottenwalder also provided the document to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in 2015 to have the veteran designation awarded to him on his driver’s license for an honorable discharge.

“Often times people forge, alter, or construct fake DD Form 214 certificates in an attempt to gain the tangible benefits of being a veteran, and use it to mask their downfalls of unsatisfactory service in the United States Armed Forces,” the sheriff’s office said. “It can also be used to claim honors that they have not earned. This is most commonly labeled as ‘stolen valor.'”

Ottenwalder is facing charges of forgery and uttering a forged instrument. He was released Wednesday on a $10,000 bond.

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