Stolen Valor: Former police officer convicted over faking Purple - CBS46 News

Stolen Valor: Former police officer convicted over faking Purple Heart

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Shane Ladner from a CBS46 file photo, along with an image of a Purple Heart. (SOURCE: WGCL) Shane Ladner from a CBS46 file photo, along with an image of a Purple Heart. (SOURCE: WGCL)
CANTON, GA (CBS46) -

Jurors have reached a verdict Tuesday in the case of a former Holly Springs police officer accused of lying about his military record. 

Shane Ladner was found guilty of six out of seven counts including one count of lying and five counts of lying to the county tax commissioner.

Each charge is a felony offense that carries a maximum of five years in prison.

Closing arguments Monday

Prosecutors asked a jury to convict Shane Ladner of stealing from the state because he got free Purple Heart license plates for his car, even though they say he never received the actual medal.

They claim he made up a story that he suffered a shrapnel wound during a combat mission, and was awarded a Purple Heart. Prosecutors say he claimed the honor to receive a free Purple Heart license plate in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

But prosecutors say their case is about more than just license plates.

"This defendant did not serve with honor," says a prosecutor. "This defendant used his last service to falsify documents, to get praise, honor, respect and benefits that he did not earn."

Questions about Ladner's service started being asked in 2013 when a parade float for veterans was hit by a train. Ladner and his wife were riding on the float, and his wife's injuries were so serious that her leg had to be amputated.

But the extra attention they received as victims of the accident propelled the investigation.

Before he was arrested, Ladner was a Holly Springs police officer, but the department has since cut ties with him because of the allegations.

Pretending to have a Purple Heart by itself is not a crime, and most people who do that go unpunished because they never benefited financially from the claim.

Prosecutors hunted for something Ladner got for free, and a state license plate is the first thing they could fine.

On Monday, the defense showed the jury documents they say prove Ladner received the Purple Heart for fighting in Panama, but it's a claim that isn't backed up by any other government records or fellow service members.

The jury deliberated until 8 p.m. Monday, and they'll resume again Tuesday morning.

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