Michael Patrick McManus looks like a soldier, says he’s a soldier, but he’s not a soldier. And he is facing charges for lying about his resume.
The man, who the FBI says is a fraud, even showed up in a military uniform at the inauguration of Houston Mayor. The problem is that he didn’t earn any of the medals he was wearing.
Michael Patrick McManus was arrested after a federal judge signed a warrant for his arrest. The FBI says he was arrested without incident.
A blog reads like an old-time wanted poster in the Wild West: Wanted for stolen valor. Do you know this man? Reward. A man who took the photos of McManus said:
Just looking at the guy, the appearance is that he was a truly decorated serviceman.
The photo of McManus was taken at Mayor’s victory party. The man who took it is retired military. He sent six images to ABC 13, though he didn’t want to be identified.
The veteran spoke with ABC 13 by phone about why he was so suspicious seeing all the awards on this man’s uniform. He said:
That was kind of my initial indication that you know what, something here doesn’t add up. It doesn’t look right.
The medals included two distinguished service crosses, the second-highest award for valor given by the Army. Even a purple heart. A military expert said:
The parachute badge. That’s the basic parachute badge.
Furthermore, experts say that a band around the suspect’s neck seems to indicate that he is the Commander of the British Empire.
John Bradley, a retired U.S. Army Officer, a graduate of the Military Academy at West Point who currently teaches courses in military history at the University of Houston-Downtown and Rice University, said:
He’s got so many, if you take out the list of decorations, it looks like he just went and collected every one and slapped them on his chest.
It strikes me as overwhelming, in the sense that anybody who had that many awards would be very, very, very rare. As young as he was, there’s no possibility he could have earned those types of awards.
Bradley added that the chin whiskers are a dead giveaway. He says that no true serviceman would dishonor the uniform by appearing in public with facial hair.
The FBI identified the man in the picture as Michael Patrick McManus.
ABC 13 tracked McManus to an address in Houston where we tried to get his side of this story on at least five occasions. A man who answered the door the first time claimed that the man in the picture wasn’t him.
However, on another visit, another man at the same house told the journalists that the man in the photo has lived at the address.
According to neighbors, he sure looks like the guy in the picture. One neighbor said:
He was always kind of strange.
The photos prompted bloggers to try and figure out who was parading around Houston as this highly-decorated war hero.
They pushed to expose the man’s action as improper and illegal, saying “the violations of uniform regs are legion” and “This is illegal as per the Stolen Valor Act and this guy needs to go to jail. This has been a cancer for a long time, but with the internet we can do what other generations could not.”
John Breiden, the past National Commander for American Legion, said the images made him angry. He said:
This, in my opinion, is someone who wants to be a hero, wants to be thought of as a hero, and they don’t deserve it. There’s a lot of people that have earned that right and this is not one of them.
The man who took the photos wanted to expose McManus to protect the legitimate honors earned by so many. He said:
Don’t steal somebody else’s honor and valor and service to their country by wearing something you’re not supposed to be wearing or that you haven’t earned in the first place.
The journalists made several attempts to contact McManus, but he has not returned their calls or emails.
McManus is now in federal custody and charged with stolen valor. The Army is also investigating this incident.
In 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Stolen Valor Act into law. Anyone convicted in connection with impersonating a member of the military or stealing medals could receive up to a year in federal prison.