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Veteran imposter to be released from jail

7:25 PM, Jun 9, 2009   |    comments
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Judge Jonathan L. Walker sentenced Rick Strandlof to 20 days in jail with credit for time served and one year of unsupervised probation. Strandlof must also pay a $150 in court fines.

Strandlof was being held on a $1,000 misdemeanor traffic warrant since his arrest May 12.

Strandlof spoke with 9Wants to Know for a second time Monday, and said the traffic charges result from a broken gas pipe at a Colorado Springs park last year.

"I ran into a gas pipe snapping it off," he said. "It was out from the building five or six feet."

When police responded, he says they ticketed him for careless driving and driving without a license.

Strandlof says he had an expired license out of California.

In a previous interview with 9Wants to Know, Strandlof admitted he did not always tell the truth when he fought for veterans' rights and claimed to have served three tours of duty in Iraq.

"I admit that not everything I said was as factual as I wish it had been," Strandlof said in his first and only television interview. "Some assertions made in public were not true."

Strandlof, who founded Colorado Veterans Alliance in 2007, also goes by the name Rick Duncan.

"I just want to say that I'm sorry I hurt you. I know some people will say that's not enough," Strandlof said.

Strandlof claimed he cannot remember many events over the past three years due to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 9NEWS could not independently confirm the diagnosis but found court documents indicating a 2005 "unlawful taking of a motor vehicle" charge from Nevada was referred to mental health court. The court file is sealed.

Strandlof claims he did not receive treatment for mental illness until he was arrested last month.

Strandlof also would not say whether he served time in the military, though FBI agents investigating reports of criminal wrongdoing confirm he was never a soldier or Marine.

"I don't want to comment on that. I think it would back [my legal team] into a corner if [court] proceedings happen," Strandlof said.

Strandlof, as head of Colorado Veterans Alliance, actively pursued the limelight on many veterans' issues. He campaigned for homeless veterans in Colorado Springs. He made appearances at anti-war rallies. He campaigned in television ads against Bob Schaffer who lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2008.

"I think that came about as being caught up in the moment," he said. "I believed that perhaps if I believe, then other people can too."

He says he has not received any money from politicians but instead says he raised money from private donations and used some of his own money.

Strandlof has not been charged with any crimes related to allegations he lied about military service. The FBI confirmed to 9Wants to Know that an investigation into those allegations is ongoing.

If you have information or would like to contact 9Wants to Know reporter Jace Larson, e-mail him at jace.larson@9news.com or call 303-871-1432.

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