I-Team 10 Update: Ontario Co. man accused of making false Purple Heart claim to take plea deal
Posted at: 07/25/2012 1:23 PM
By: Brett Davidsen | WHEC.com
I-Team 10 has learned an Ontario County man accused of falsely claiming he was awarded the Purple Heart Medal has agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
But Marc Restucci of Manchester will not plead guilty to "lying" about his military decoration. Instead, documents filed in U.S. District Court by his attorney state Restucci plans to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of forging a military discharge certificate.
In December, I Team 10 reported the Department of Veterans Affairs said Restucci filled out fraudulent documents in an attempt to claim medical disability benefits.
Investigators say he even submitted a phony Purple Heart certificate. The Purple Heat Medal is given to members of the U.S. Armed Forced who are injured or killed in combat.
Restucci was a licensed nurse at the V.A. Hospital in Canandaigua at the time.
He was charged under the Stolen Valor Act which was passed by Congress in 2006 to protect the honor of veterans. It made it a crime for someone to falsely represent that they received any U.S. military decoration or medal. But late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act, saying it violated First Amendment rights to free speech.
Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, government prosecutors in this case held a discussion with the judge and said they were likely to dismiss the charge relating solely to Restucci's false purple heart claim.
He is scheduled to appear for a plea hearing on the forgery charge August 24.