Five biggest fakers in recent Colorado history
|Rick Strandlof speaks at Occupy Denver.|
Rick Strandlof is an outgoing, intelligent 35-year-old college student with a well-known local history. He first came to the public eye in 2009 as Rick Duncan, a gay Marine Corps veteran who had survived Don't Ask, Don't Tell, two knee replacements and a traumatic brain injury during his three tours in Iraq. For his valor, he won the Purple Heart and the Silver Star. But that turned out to be stolen valor, and when board members at his nonprofit, the Colorado Veterans Alliance, grew suspicious, they reported him to the FBI.
In federal district court, Strandlof was charged with violating the 2006 Stolen Valor Act, which the Supreme Court of the United States later dismissed. And as he waited across years for the final ruling, he transformed himself again. Last year, Strandlof's friends knew him as Rick Gold, a conservative Jewish lawyer with citizenship in both Israel and the U.S. Thanks to his combined passports, Gold served in the U.S. Marine Corps and the Israeli Defense Forces -- at least until his friends recognized him as Strandlof and cut ties. For more information, read our feature, "Will the real Rick Strandlof please stand up?"
• "Mark Udall among lawmakers pushing for Stolen Valor replacement, easy detection websites"
• Stolen Valor was born in Colorado before dying with the Supreme Court"
• "Rick Strandlof: The paper trail behind Colorado's biggest stolen valor case"
Click through to keep counting down the five biggest fakers in recent Colorado history.