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Ex-cop who lied about having Purple Heart avoids jail time, must pay $6,000

A airman holds a Purple Heart in this file photo.

JUSTIN CONNAHER/U.S. AIR FORCE

By RAISA HABERSHAM | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Tribune News Service) | Published: October 3, 2017

A former Holly Springs, Ga. police officer who lied about being a Purple Heart recipient to get free license plates was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years on probation while avoiding jail time.

Shane Ladner must also perform 600 hours of community service and pay $6,000 in restitution to Cherokee County, District Attorney Shannon Wallace told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an email. Ladner was sentenced as a first offender.

A jury convicted Ladner on May 28 of five counts of making false statements and one count of theft by taking after he claimed he earned the medal, awarded for combat wounds, when he was injured in Panama in 1989 during the operation to capture President Manuel Noriega, The AJC previously reported. He was found not guilty on one theft charge.

The Cherokee sheriff’s office conducted a six-week investigation in 2013 that determined there was no evidence that Ladner had been awarded a Purple Heart.

Ladner received Purple Heart license plates, free of charge, from 2009 until 2012, according to the sheriff’s office.

At the time of his arrest, Ladner’s attorneys told The AJC he earned the medal. Instead of being injured in 1989, they said he was actually wounded by shrapnel during a classified drug action in Honduras in 1991.

Ladner said the medal was lost when he sent it home from Central America.

His lawyers also said they could not find the citation that confirmed he received one, but at trial said Veterans Affairs verified the Purple Heart.

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©2017 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)
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