Court Directed Public Humiliation for Lying

Nothing like a little public humiliation for making a false official statement. Out of Whitefish, Montana come the story of a man sentenced to wear a sandwich-board stating “I am a liar. I am not a Marine. I have never served my country.”

A Whitefish man was sentenced Thursday to spend 50 hours wearing a sandwich board with the words, “I am a liar. I am not a Marine. I have never served my country.”

Chief U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula also sentenced William Horvath to four months of house arrest for making a false statement.

Horvath, 36, was convicted of making a false statement — a felony.

According to court documents, in 2001 he told a probation officer that he served time in the U.S. Marine Corps. The probation officer was gathering information on Horvath on a prior charge of being a fugitive in possession of firearms or ammunition.

When the officer attempted to verify Horvath’s military service, the Marine Corps stated there was no record of him having served.

Horvath then presented evidence to the probation officer, including photographs and decorations. Representatives of the Marine Corps said Horvath’s uniform was worn improperly, decorations were improperly displayed, and equipment and uniforms in the photos did not fit with the era or were inconsistent with other items in the photos.

A veteran himself, Molloy ordered Horvath to perform 50 hours of community service by marching in front of the U.S. courthouse in Missoula during regular business hours. He must wear a sandwich board with large letters that will read, “I am a liar. I am not a Marine,” on the front. On the back will be: “I have never served my country. I have dishonored veterans of all wars.”

He must also write a letter of apology to the commandant of the Marine Corps, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion in Kalispell. Similar letters will go to the Missoulian and Daily Inter Lake newspapers, Molloy ordered. Horvath must admit in the letters that he lied repeatedly about serving and being wounded.

Horvath will be on probation for four years.

Molloy also fined Horvath $1,500.

It is important to note here that Hovath was convicted of making a false official statement to a Federal probation officer. Unless the laws have changed in the past year since I researched this, it is not a federal crime to falsely claim in public that you are, or have been, a member of the military. However, falsely claiming that you have been awarded the Medal of Honor is (now) a Federal offense. So is falsely claiming to be a member of the 4H (really, though it could be the Future Farmers of America, don’t remember).

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Military Affairs, , , ,
Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. vnjagvet says:

    Put that one in the plus column for creative sentencing by a Federal Judge.

    Thanks for your service, Judge Molloy.

  2. Where was this judge when Clinton made his no contest plea to the perjury charge (thereby neither admitting or denying he committed perjury).