Stolen Valor scumbags are wannabes who profit at the expense of real Veterans. They are the lowest of the low.
Montana’s highest court has upheld a judgment against a Lynchburg, Virginia, man who solicited at least one investor in his business dealings by claiming to have been a U.S. Marine.
The Montana Supreme Court last month upheld a lower court’s decision ordering Laron Shannon, formerly of Kalispell, Montana, to pay $1.7 million in damages to Donald Kaltschmidt, of Whitefish. Kaltschmidt, according to the court, gave Shannon $250,000 to invest in a company Shannon said would hire veterans to clean oil rigs in eastern Montana and North Dakota.
But Shannon, who often wore Marine apparel such as caps and knit shirts with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and portrayed himself as a former Marine officer, never served on active duty as a commissioned Marine, according to court documents. When asked early during the court proceedings to produce a DD-214 record of service document, he did not immediately produce it.
Following multiple trial delays by Shannon for medical emergencies, as well as a bankruptcy declaration that temporarily halted proceedings, Shannon offered up roughly 300 documents a week before the trial was to start, including a DD-214 that showed he was discharged in 1982 as a midshipman — a term that applies to both students at the U.S. Naval Academy and students in Navy and Marine Corps ROTC programs at other schools.
The 11th District Judicial Court ruled that the documents were not admissible to the court because they had not been produced in a timely manner. And Kaltschmidt’s attorneys charged that the documents were forged.
“The District Court was provided with proof that Mr. Shannon had fabricated many of the newly produced ‘Top Secret’ redacted documents in his ‘VA file’ … and was presented with proof that Mr. Shannon had forged what he claimed was his DD214,”Appellee Brief to the Montana Supreme Court
Shannon appealed the lower court’s decision based on the decision regarding the documentation as well as the trial proceedings, which continued after Shannon elected to leave the courtroom the first day when, while cross-examining Kaltschmidt, he claimed a medical emergency.
In his absence, the jury found Shannon liable for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, constructive fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, awarding $224,000 in compensatory damages, and later, an additional $1.5 million in punitive damages.
The Montana Supreme Court upheld the ruling, concluding that the lower court had the right to exclude Shannon’s documents and it had “exercised considerable patience with” him before allowing the trial to proceed.
According to court documents, the company Shannon intended to establish, Oilfield Warriors, never conducted any business operations. Shannon allegedly embezzled the company’s funds and established two other companies, JD Services and Hire America’s Finest, around the same time he created Oilfield Warriors, the business in which Kaltschmidt invested.
Kaltschmidt, who served in the Marine Corps in the amphibious assault vehicle community from 1975 to 1978 and has a son who served in the Marine Corps, said Shannon knew enough about the service to “talk a good game,” which made other veterans — and the public — vulnerable to his solicitations for charity and investments.
“It’s egregious and disheartening to the people who actually serve. “These types of things should not be tolerated.”Donald Kaltschmidt
Kaltschmidt said he plans to pursue recoupment of the funds awarded him by the court.
“Bankruptcy doesn’t shield a person in cases of fraud. He’s masquerading as a Marine, soliciting funds and using money for his own profit. It’s the worst kind of theft there is,”Donald Kaltschmidt