MISSOULA - A Whitefish man who lied to his probation officer about having served in the military was ordered Thursday to stand outside the courthouse here wearing a sandwich board that says, "I am a liar. I am not a Marine."
William C. Horvath, 35, pleaded guilty to making false statements, a felony.
U.S District Judge Donald Molloy sentenced him to four months of house arrest and four years of probation. He also ordered him to stand outside the courthouse for 50 hours wearing a sandwich board with large letters on the front that say: "I am a liar. I am not a Marine."
On the back, it must read: "I have never served my country. I have dishonored veterans of all wars."
Molloy, a veteran himself, also ordered Horvath to write letters of apology to newspapers, the U.S. Marine Corps, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion in Kalispell. The judge said Horvath must admit in the letters that he lied repeatedly about serving and being wounded.
According to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office, Horvath claimed during an interview with a probation officer on Aug. 9, 2001, that he had served in the Marine Corps. The officer was gathering information on Horvath on a prior charge of being a fugitive in possession of firearms or ammunition.
The probation officer then attempted to verify Horvath's military service, but was told by the Marine Corps that there was no record of Horvath ever having served.
Horvath then presented the probation officer with evidence of his time in the military, including photographs and decorations. However, Marine Corps representatives told the probation officer that the evidence contained a variety of inconsistencies.
For instance, Horvath was wearing his uniform improperly; he displayed decorations incorrectly; and equipment and uniforms in the photos either didn't fit the era or were inconsistent with other items in the photos.