Today, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that increases the penalty for the offense of presenting fraudulent or fictitious military records.
Within the state of Texas, the penalty for fake military records is simply a Class C misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of 500 dollars.
Effective this September, that penalty is raised to a Class B misdemeanor, bumping the maximum fine up to $2,000, with potential jail time.
What we are finding out is that this issue spans far past free meals at restaurants.
We reached out to Senator Van Taylor, who has been a leader in the penalty increase.
He responded saying, "when I hear news stories of individual claiming fictitious military records, I immediately got to work with fellow veterans in our community to address this issue."
Further stating, that he applauded the Governor for signing this bill into law.
It is the military veterans that truly feel the effects of this crime.
"With all the technology we have, I don't know how a man would slip through the cracks," said Vietnam Marine Veteran Jerry Lawson.
Lawson explains military phonies have been around since before he was enlisted.
"You can talk to these guys for just a few minutes and start asking questions, and you can see through their stories pretty quick," said Lawson.
These actions make it more difficult for true veterans to seek their given benefits by forging false military documents to get free medical treatment.
"I mean the VA, basically they take care of me, all of my medications, all of my hospitalizations," Lawson said. "They've got the VA here in Lufkin, I go to that regularly."
Despite ongoing military fraud, Lawson leaves one piece of advice to all military men and women.
"Especially, if you're a combat veteran, you have these benefits coming, if you're eligible for them, get 'em," said Lawson.