RCMP Const. Jordan Irvine was on his honeymoon final June when he observed one thing amiss with a web based information article a few so-called veteran.
A former soldier himself, Irvine is aware of his manner round a navy medal — the Surrey Mountie had a number of pinned to his chest when Canada’s Governor General gave him an award for meritorious service in 2016.
But the medals Irvine noticed James French carrying in an image of him accumulating for the poppy fund final 12 months did not fairly match the dates given within the article for his navy service.
Irvine, an Afghanistan veteran, made a psychological observe of it and went again to the holiday along with his new partner. But he started an investigation on his return to work.
On Wednesday, practically 5 months later, that investigation resulted in a so-called “stolen valour” cost in opposition to French for allegedly faking navy service to use for a housing subsidy meant for veterans.
The 49-year-old is dealing with one depend of illegal use of navy mark and one other depend of false pretence in relation to an utility he allegedly submitted to the Amos Gordon Ferguson Memorial Society.
Surrey RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Elenore Sturko mentioned the detachment is happy with Irvine.
“Even though he was on his honeymoon, he still followed up with the file, because it was very important to him to make sure that he was doing the right thing to follow through and ensure that he was doing an investigation into these medals, because obviously he has a personal connection,” mentioned Sturko.
“He cares about Surrey and he cares about making sure that he’s looking after the community, and he felt that by noticing the irregularity that he saw, he wanted to follow through and make sure that he was doing an investigation.”
French insisted he was a veteran
The CBC first reported on the investigation into French final week, earlier than prices had been submitted to the Crown.
At that point, French insisted he was a veteran and referred a reporter to his lawyer, saying the reality would “come out in the wash.”
Irvine, who was a sergeant within the military, was acknowledged by the Governor General as co-founder of Send Up the Count, a psychological well being initiative that makes use of social media to succeed in out to serving and retired navy members who could also be in peril of harming themselves.
He wasn’t the one one to take discover of French’s look within the article.
Stolen Valour Canada, a corporation devoted to outing civilians posing as veterans, additionally notified the RCMP after quite a lot of the group’s members complained.
French was seen carrying each a General Campaign Star and a Sacrifice medal. But neither has ever been awarded to anybody with service in 1999.
A navy database search additionally allegedly failed to seek out data of anybody with French’s title or delivery date ever having served within the Canadian Forces.
‘Representing himself’ as a veteran
According to the warrant, French allegedly obtained $250 of veteran help cash from the Cloverdale Legion and about $80 from the now-defunct Langley Legion “on the basis that he was a veteran in need.”
“During my interviews of several people, I learned that French had been attending veterans functions, wearing military medals and representing himself as a Canadian Forces veteran,” Irvine wrote.
“He applied for housing at Amos Gordon Ferguson Memorial Society and requested subsidization as a veteran. The Legion provides financial assistance to the society for the purpose of taking care of veterans that stay there. The subsidized rent is paid for by the government.”
French at present lives in a transformed basement storage that’s considered one of many suites crammed right into a two-storey home on a busy road within the Fleetwood space of Surrey.
Last month, Irvine seized 5 medals from French’s dwelling, together with a gray Calvin Klein jacket adorned with the crest of the Royal Canadian Legion.
‘These vile acts needs to be punished’
The cost underneath Section 419 of the Criminal Code of Canada carries a most penalty of six months in jail or a high quality of $5,000 or each.
The offence is known as “stolen valour” in navy circles due to makes an attempt to money in on the status and sacrifice of navy service.
The problem is of explicit significance to the Royal Canadian Legion, which doesn’t have the power to entry particular person data of people that declare to be veterans.
“The period around Remembrance Day can be an emotional time for veterans while they reflect upon their service and sacrifices made by our wounded and fallen,” Stolen Valour Canada mentioned in an announcement to the CBC.
“Hopefully, this will serve as a warning to those who would use hard-earned medals and insignia as props in their fraudulent activities.”
None of the allegations have been confirmed in court docket. No date has been set for a primary look.