PLANT CITY, Fla. – Polk County deputies arrested a man Wednesday for impersonating a member of the military for the purpose of material gain, a federal crime known as stolen valor.
Kyle Christopher Barwan, 27, was taken into custody in Plant City Wednesday as a result of an investigation that began in December after Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a tip, reported Fox 13.
The tip came from someone who read a blog about Barwan impersonating military officers.
Stolen Valor Unveiled
As the investigation progressed, deputies learned Barwan had previously been arrested and charged federally for impersonating an officer in the military, in both Illinois and Kentucky.
Barwan developed an online relationship with a Polk County woman, according to detectives. He told her many lies about his military service. While the deception continued he also solicited money from her. He claimed the money was “to benefit one of his fellow soldiers who was injured in the war.”
According to the affidavit, records show that Barwan enlisted in the National Guard in 2007. However, he was discharged after fewer than 180 days of service. He failed to meet medical procurement standards, according to the report.
His first arrest for stolen valor occurred in 2012 in Kentucky. After serving his time there, he later moved to Illinois where he was again arrested in 2014 for impersonating an officer in the military.
Barwan’s pattern remained consistent as he appeared on law enforcement radar in Florida in 2016.
Sheriff Grady Judd spoke ruthlessly regarding Barwan’s action. “Lying about being in the military to steal money from someone is not only egregious, it’s against the law,” he said. “It’s also a slap in the face to all the fine men and women across the nation who have served in our country’s military with honor. Kyle Barwan is a disgrace.”