HOUSTON, Texas -- A Shenadoah man who vastly altered his military record to reap the benefits of life as a highly-decorated war hero has been sentenced to 30 days in federal prison.
Paul A. Schroeder, 41, was convicted of altering a military or naval discharge certificate. The former director of counseling for the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Foundation was indicted earlier this year and was sentenced Monday morning by United States District Judge David Hittner. The judge rejected a defense request for probation and ordered Schroeder to spend a month in a federal detention facility and pay a $3,000 fine.
In 2010, as a representative for the PTSD Foundation, Schroeder appeared in a news story on KHOU 11 News professing how his Christian faith helped him overcome the demons he developed as a front-line soldier in Afghanistan and Somalia. Schroeder actually served only 9 years as a military policeman in the continental United States.
Schroeder altered his military discharge papers to indicate that he had received the Silver Star for valor, two Purple Hearts, three Bronze Stars, two Meritorious Service Medals, training from Special Forces Assessment and Selection, Army Ranger School, Pathfinder Course, Jumpmaster School, Airborne School, Military Freefall School and the Combat Dive Qualification Course.
"It was a grave insult,” said Houston Police Department Cpt. Gregory Fremin who worked with Schroeder when he was hired as a counselor and consultant to teach HPD officers how to deal with veterans suffering from PTSD.
"Mr. Schroeder, Paul, was one of those individuals that was a very dynamic speaker, and he captivated an audience, but at the end of the day he was a charlatan, and he was a fraud,” said Fremin.
Also, by submitting fraudulent documentation, Schroeder was also issued meritorious service license plates for his vehicle.
When asked by Judge Hittner if he had anything to say before sentencing Schroeder said “I apologize to all veterans for my dishonorable actions.” His attorney David Gerger told the judge that Schroeder’s "obsession with the military manifested itself in a negative way."
"We hold our military to be very high in loyalty, in love, in duty, and in country. And he fell very far from grace with this. Very far,” said Fremin who also served in the Marine Corps.
The judge allowed Schroeder to begin serving his 30-day sentence after Jan. 1.