Man claiming to be decorated veteran arrested

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WHITE SPRINGS, Fla. (WTXL)--  A man claiming to be a decorated veteran is arrested on fraud charges after investigators say he lied about getting three Bronze Star awards.

Sixty-five year old Joe Edward Griffin said he was arrested Thursday for lying on his application when he applied for the White Springs town manager position back in February.

Police say in his application he included copies of a U.S. Navy military certificate, as well as a Silver Medal award and three Bronze Star awards.

Police say town leaders became suspicious when they noticed the awards were earned in a one year span.

We spoke with Griffin on Tuesday and he says he was awarded the medals and earned them during his tour in Vietnam.

He claims he renounced them. He says when he tried to get them back, he received false documents. Griffin says he is actually the victim of fraud.

"My wife and I sent in an application that had the false medals on it, I did not know they were false medals," said Griffin. "They are saying that I could not have earned those medals in a year. Ask anyone, they will tell you Vietnam tours last a year."

Police say a Navy spokesperson confirmed that Griffin was in the Navy as a lieutenant and was honorably discharged.

The only recognition on file is a letter of appreciation from the Navy.

Griffin was released from the Hamilton County Jail on $10,000 bond.