Chattanooga, Tenn. - - - - -

A proliferation of phony heroes is prompting such groups as The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation to lobby for tougher laws to punish the impostors.

The organization reports that there are 113 living recipients of the nations highest military award, but an FBI agent who tracks the fakes said impostors outnumber the true heroes.

“There are more and more of these impostors. and they are literally stealing the valor and acts of valor of the real guys.’’ said Agent Tom Cottone who also works on an FBI violent crime squad in West Paterson. N.J.

Some fakers merely brag about receiving the award — and that’s not illegal —— but some impostors wear military uniforms and bogus medals.

The FBI has about 25 pending investigations of such phony heroes, said Cottonc.

Anyone convicted of fraudulently wearing the Medal of Honor faces up to a year in prison and a $100.000 fine.

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