We have another stolen valor controversy this week, a subject that I have written a great deal about in prior postings and columns. Frauds will often go to extraordinary lengths to construct a false record and appearance. Many are pathetically transparent. Papotia Reginald Wright is one of the latter group. He pretended to be a green beret but did not have the energy apparently to get an actually green beret.
I have previously criticized past prosecutions for stolen valor (here and here) as a threat to the first amendment. Such cases are deterred through social stigma and simple research, as it was here. This case may be more serious in that Wright is accused of gaining special entry into sporting events like Giants games and using his fraudulent record for personal advancement.
He was never a Green Beret, though he did serve in the Army. While he claimed 25 years of service, he was in the Army only from 1982 to 1990. He served as a military driver. He created an organization called the 8th Special Forces Regiment New York Honor Guard.
Notably, Wright’s wife, Tammy Feliciano, is also accused of lying about being an ex-Army “major’’ while serving as an “executive officer’’ with him. She never served at all in the military.
Wright is quoted as saying he never pretended to be a Green Beret and was wearing Green Beret insignia because “that was the uniform of the day.” That still does not address the purple heart medal which is the most serious matter in my view.
Wright has an arrest record from 2015 in South Carolina for obtaining property by false pretense.
Here is the report from the Guardians of the Green Beret.