A 42-year-old Queen Creek man is accused of falsely claiming he was awarded some the military’s most prestigious honors and wearing bogus medals while on active duty at official military functions.
Kurt Bishop is facing up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned a 34-count indictment against Bishop, who formerly served in the U.S. Army for 20 years. He is charged with making false claims about his military decorations and fraud-related offenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Bishop could not reached for comment.
The indictment alleges that Bishop, a former Army chaplain who was discharged earlier this year, began making false claims about his military decorations and training in 1991, soon after he ended his first tour of active duty.
Bishop falsely claimed that he was awarded some of the most prestigious medals and decorations in the military, including the Bronze Star with Valor and Purple Heart and that he received advanced combat training to achieve the elite status of an Army Ranger, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Bishop, who rose to the rank of captain, wore imitations of the medals and decorations on his Army service uniforms during tours of active duty and for other official activities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
During an investigation conducted by the Department of Defense, it was discovered Bishop was able to use his position as a personnel specialist to alter his military records to reflect some of the claims. He relied on the false claims to become an officer in the Arizona National Guard and to enter the Chaplain Corps in 2006, which both resulted in pay increases and upgrades in benefits. After serving in the army, Bishop became a first lieutenant in the Arizona National Guard.
In September, he was instructed by his commanding officer in the Arizona National Guard to submit a biographical summary on which he falsely claimed he was awarded 21 medals, according to information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The allegations drew the ire of one fellow veteran.
Sid Roe, a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7401 in Chandler, said he believed people who falsely represent their military service should face charges.
“I’m glad they caught him,” said Roe, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1952 to 1956 and in the U.S. Air Force from 1956 to 1984. “I think the charges are justifiable. We that served for many years don’t like to see those who advance their military careers or lives by saying they did things when they didn’t. They should be prosecuted.”