MILITARY

Former police officer convicted on false Purple Heart claims

A former Georgia police officer has been convicted on six of seven charges related to falsely claiming he received a military Purple Heart.

News outlets reported that Shane Ladner was found guilty Tuesday of six counts of making a false statement related to his use of the honor to get free license plates — five counts for lying to the county tax commissioner's office and one for lying to investigators.

The Cherokee County sheriff's office conducted a six-week investigation into Ladner's Purple Heart claims in 2013, after he and his wife were injured during a wounded veterans' parade in Texas, drawing national attention.

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His wife, Meg Ladner, who lost a leg in the accident, said in testimony that her husband was an "honorable man" who had been treated poorly since the crash.

Ladner had initially said he was wounded in Panama in 1989 during an operation to capture President Manuel Noriega, but his attorneys later said he was awarded the medal after being wounded by shrapnel during a classified drug action in Honduras in 1991.

Superiors disputed the award in testimony. Ladner claimed the medal was lost when he sent it home from Central America. His attorney said during the trial that the Department of Veterans Affairs had verified the Purple Heart, but the attorney could not find the citation confirming receipt.

A sentencing date hasn't been set. Ladner faces up to five years in prison for each count.