LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A Lakeland man is facing a third charge of stolen valor after detectives say he lied about military service to solicit money, while on probation for doing the same crime.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office received information that 25-year-old Kyle Barwan of Lakeland, who was previously arrested and charged twice for stolen valor, again misrepresented himself as a military member to try to get money from a victim.
According to the victim, she was at Munn Park in downtown Lakeland on April 26 when Barwan approached her.
Barwan told her and another woman standing there that he was home from the military working with the homeless while he was on leave. He advised he was a member of the Green Beret and that he was getting redeployed for 18 months when he went back. When he asked for money to help the homeless, the other woman gave him some money. Barwan told her she could donate too. She stated she felt like she was being set up and didn’t give Barwan any money.
The victim looked Barwan up on Facebook and after finding other articles showing he had been arrested for impersonating military members, she posted one of the articles on his Facebook page. Barwan then blocked her from his account, and the woman decided to contact local authorities.
When deputies contacted Barwan’s Probation Officer, she said she recently received two other complaints regarding Barwan doing the same activity.
One of those incidents is under investigation by the Lakeland Police Department.
Barwan was on felony probation at the time of this incident.
Barwan was arrested on January 25 after detectives say he pretended to be a military officer and solicited money from a woman he met online.
Another victim came forward after seeing Barwan was in jail. She said she also met him on the website “Plenty of Fish.”
Barwan began asking the victim for money to help pay his phone bill, rent and for food. She gave him approximately $150-200 under the impression he was a military officer. He then asked for $60 to buy an online Microsoft program that he said he needed for his assignment in the military.
The victim said she stopped talking to Barwan near the end of October, as she felt he was lying to her.
A victim who did not want to be identified spoke to News Channel 8 Thursday night.
“He said he was here helping homeless, and you know, kind of asked for money,” she said.
“Obviously, this man is either the most amazing man in the world or… A terrible liar and lying about military service is something dear to my heart, because my grandfather was a Green Beret,” the victim said. “He served a lot of terms. My uncle was in the military… my father.”
He is now back in the Polk County Jail, being held on no bond, for:
- Soliciting Funds/Misrepresenting Military Service (F-3)
- VOP – Fraud (F-3)
- VOP – Tampering with Witness – (F-2)
- VOP – Soliciting Funds/Misrepresenting Military Service (F-3)
Barwan is also being charged with a violating his probation.
Barwan was also arrested before on federal charges for impersonating an officer in the military in both Kentucky and Illinois.
According to military records, Barwan enlisted in the Army National Guard of Kentucky in 2007 and was discharged in 2008 at the rank of Private 2nd Class for failure to meet medical procurement standards. His character of service is listed as “uncharacterized,” meaning he served less than 180 days.
The records prove Barwan is no longer affiliated with the Army or Army National Guard, is not an officer, was never deployed, and was never injured in the line of duty, the affidavit said.
Anyone who believes they have been victimized by Kyle Barwan is encouraged to contact PSCO at 863-298-6200.
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