A man who has been masquerading as retired Marine Corps lieutenant for over a decade has finally been unmasked and is being investigated by at least two federal agencies.
Gregory Allen, 67, owner of San Rafael’s House of Steel gym and president of the Marin chapter of Military Officers Association of America, has been lying to the residents of the California County about his military service. Allen has mentored and trained over 100 young men and women who have entered the military at his gym.
“Two public affairs officers from the Western Recruiting Region did an investigation and were unable to find any record of him serving in the Marine Corps,” said Sgt. Alfred Lopez, public affairs director for the Recruiting Station San Francisco for the U.S. Marine Corps. “This is conclusive that he has not served (in the Marines).”
According to Marin Independent Journal, the investigation was conducted around the week of April 10 at the request of a reporter.
“I believe the only records of him serving in any military capacity were of a short enlistment in the Navy,” Lopez said. Allen served for less than a year before leaving due to a medical discharge.
Allen stated in a 2010 story that he did two tours of Vietnam and was in active duty from 1967 to 1974. He also claimed to have worked for the Marine Corps as a contractor and has a VA card with the Marine emblem on it.
When asked if he served in the Marine Corps Allen responded, “I’m not going to say anything. I’m going to let the lawyer answer these questions. We have some things going on we have to be sure of.”
Allen refused to release his attorney’s name or contact information. When asked if he could supply a copy of his DD-214, Allen said he would once he received it.
“All the accusations brought forth, we will aggressively respond. There is more to what happens as to why this began in the first place,” he said, not elaborating on the meaning of his words.
As of now, Lopez says the Marines have no plans to initiate any action against Allen and it is also unclear if any laws were broken.
“We can’t just arrest someone. That would be up to the FBI or local authorities, if a local person approached the FBI or local law enforcement and said he (Allen) was impersonating an officer or had violated the Stolen Valor Act.”
B.G. Burkett, a Dallas-area Vietnam veteran and co-author of the book, “Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of its Heroes and its History” noted that Allen would have needed to receive material gain from his fraudulent claims to be prosecuted under the law.
“The law is not very effective. It’s a misdemeanor, it’s a federal law, and you have to go through a long, drawn-out process in federal court. If the (accused) has no prior convictions, the judge is going to give him probation,” Burkett said.
“The valorous claims have to be there, not just being in the military. If he’s getting money because he is giving these kids Marine training, has he committed fraud?”
Allen continues to claim to be a former Marine and assures everyone he will keep his gym open, despite membership being down to about 15 people.