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    Man who posed as vet avoids jail time

    Man who posed as vet avoids jail time

    The Greenwich Time
    David Hennessey, Staff Writer
    Updated 09:43 p.m., Friday, October 14, 2011

    The Greenwich man who posed as a wounded U.S. Army veteran will not serve jail time, but will be confined to his home on Veterans Day and Memorial Day as part of his punishment, his lawyer said Friday.

    Granted accelerated rehabilitation in state Superior Court on Friday, Jesus M. Garcia, 21, has been ordered to turn over all military uniforms and memorabilia, complete 150 hours of community service and attend counseling, according to his attorney, Mark Sherman.

    Garcia also must not leave his home on Veterans Day and Memorial Day for the duration of his two-year probationary period, Sherman said.

    Accelerated rehabilitation is a special program for first-time, non-violent offenders that involves placing the person on probation and dropping the charges after the the terms are completed.

    “The court was fair and firm in balancing a unique and particularly offensive course of conduct with the objectives of this first-time offenders program,” Sherman said.

    Sherman described his client as being “grateful to the court for this second chance.”

    Garcia was charged in June with larceny, fraudulent representation of an armed forces uniform, fraudulent use of military insignia and interfering with an officer. Police said he posed in a military uniform, claimed a facial blemish was a shrapnel wound and asked family, friends and the public to help pay for medical services and other costs.

    He was scheduled to speak at a Greenwich Memorial Day event about his tours of duty before Greenwich police uncovered his lie.

    Garcia has already paid $1,350 in restitution to victims of his scam, Sherman said.

    In an interview after his arrest, Garcia said he had obtained a uniform online and wore it on the train to New York several times, getting free rides as a result. He said he posed in the uniform on his Facebook page and admitted he received about $900 from two people who believed he was a wounded veteran.

    “I did it just to actually feel like I was somebody in life,” Garcia said in June.

    His deceit was discovered before he was able to speak at the town Memorial Day event. The lie started to unravel when he met Greenwich Police Capt. James Heavey on May 27, before Garcia was set to speak at the ceremony. Heavey, a veteran, quickly concluded Garcia was a fraud after noticing his uniform was askew, police said at the time.

    Garcia said police asked him for his military identification, but he didn’t have one. He claimed he was going to admit to the fraud during his Memorial Day talk, but never got the chance.

    Garcia, who had dropped out of high school, said he dreamed of being in the military since he was a child, but failed the test to get into the Army.