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News Weatherford and Parker County

Man who impersonated Navy SEAL sentenced in Weatherford

From the Parker County Sheriff’s Office:

A Granbury man arrested in Nov. 2014, on charges of impersonating a ranking Navy SEAL Officer, has been sentenced.

Weatherford-Parker County Special Crime Unit investigators worked closely with the Texas Rangers in an undercover investigation to locate and apprehend Carlos Felipe Luna-Gonzalez, 31, after a credible source revealed the suspect had been identifying himself as a military officer in late 2014.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said he was particularly disturbed by the offense, because he is especially proud of his own status as a Navy veteran.

“The entire situation is more than bothersome,” Fowler said, “It is plain troubling. Our citizens pride themselves in honoring true veterans, just as the rest of the country. This man stole a title which has been earned by many through bloodshed of their own.”

According to the probable cause arrest affidavit, the credible source contacted Texas Ranger Anthony Bradford of the Texas Department of Public Safety, a U.S. Army military veteran, whose son who is currently enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

The source reported Luna-Gonzalez had falsely represented himself as an active-duty Navy SEAL officer on a social media outlet, displaying portraits of himself wearing a U.S. Navy dress uniform, while dining at a local coffee shop.

The photographs of Gonzalez showed him wearing the uniform containing a Lieutenant Junior Grade Rank, displaying a Navy SEAL Trident, Jump Wings and other various awards which were affixed to his uniform.

Gonzalez had even gone as far as misrepresenting himself by deceiving a group of law enforcement officers from the county where he lives, telling them he was currently but temporarily stationed at NAS Carswell, while awaiting a medical discharge for injuries he supposedly suffered while stationed in Africa during a Navy SEAL Operation.

The investigation revealed Gonzalez was given an early general discharge from the Navy as an enlisted seaman apprentice. His service record does not reflect he was ever a commissioned officer, a Navy SEAL, nor did he ever earn a purple heart or face active combat.

Ranger Bradford utilized one of the deceived officers in a 2014 operation, providing Gonzalez the opportunity to meet with the owner of Lone Star Guns. The owner is a local wounded warrior project and veteran supporter.

The ruse operation included that Gonzalez was to be thanked personally by the owner of Lone Star Guns for his service and be presented with a firearm of appreciation.

On Nov. 8, 2014, Gonzalez appeared in a dress blue Navy uniform with an officer’s insignia, the Navy SEAL Trident and a Purple Heart. Gonzalez introducing himself to the Lone Star Gun owner and repeated his fraudulent story of how he was “shot while in combat.”

Gonzalez was presented with an LWRC assault rifle valued at $2,300, in appreciation for his service to his country. Gonzalez accepted the rifle, while he knowingly and fictitiously portrayed himself as a U.S. Navy combat veteran, accepting the rifle for reasons he knew to be false.

Gonzalez was taken into custody and charged with Theft $1,500 – $20,000; Tampering with Government Document and for Fraudulent or Fictitious Military Record. Gonzalez soon bonded out after posting $18,500.

He later did not appear for a scheduled court proceeding after he fled to Puerto Rico. Gonzalez was extradited back to Texas and additionally charged with bail jumping and failure to appear.

Gonzalez appeared before Judge Quisenberry in the 415th District Court Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, where he was eligible for probation due to not having a previous felony record.

Prosecutors with the Parker County Assistant District Attorney’s Office said Gonzalez pleaded guilty to the theft charge and was sentenced to a 16-month State Jail sentence.

Gonzalez also was sentenced to an additional three years at Texas Department of Corrections for the failure to appear and bail jumping charges.

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