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Businessman honored for returning counterfeit military medals

Henry Schaloum considers himself just your ordinary business owner.  But what he did recently, the FBI considers extraordinary.
/ Source: KING5

Henry Schaloum considers himself just your ordinary business owner. He runs an Army surplus store in the Belltown neighborhood. But what he did recently, the FBI considers extraordinary.

"I really appreciate what you've done. We want that medal to be respected, and you were doing the right thing," said retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Bruce Crandall.

Forty years ago, Henry's father bought four medals of honor and they've been on display at their shop. Recently FBI agents were shopping at the store. They suspected the extremely rare awards were counterfeit.

"I was shocked and surprised," said Schaloum.

Agents discovered the medals were authentic in production but fake because they were never awarded to a service member. Henry turned in the medals.

"A lot of people saw it and brought their children in to look at it," said Schaloum.

"He knew if these medals were to ever get in the wrong hands, it could be used be anyone fraudulently," said an FBI agent.

As Henry handed over the four medals to a real medal of honor recipient, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Bruce Crandall, he received an award of his own: a letter of recognition from Congress for protecting the integrity of the award and keeping the medals out of wrong hands.

Since Congress passed the "Stolen Valor Act" in 2005, the FBI has been aggressively tracking down fake medals of honor and criminals posing as war heroes.

But recently, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will consider if the law is constitutional. Opponents say the law violates the First Amendment's Freedom of Speech.