San Rafael gym owner accused of falsely claiming to be decorated war veteran

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KTVU) - Gregory Allen has long claimed to be an ex-marine lieutenant, decorated for bravery in Vietnam.

But as he stood in front of the gym he owns in downtown San Rafael that trains young people for the military, we asked if those claims were true.

"I am not going to comment right now. All I'm going to say is God bless," said Allen.

Allen often appears at military and civic events in Marin County, wearing Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for valor among other medals.

But the U.S Marine Corps confirmed to KTVU, they have no record of Allen serving in the marines, or earning any medals.

They say he did serve briefly in the Navy and was medically discharged.

"I feel disgusted and I feel angry. It seems like he developed a persona and lived that," said John Sammons, a decorated war veteran.

He says he used to consider Allen a friend - but no longer. "Think about how many people won a Bronze Star and it was awarded to the next of kin," said Sammons.

Allen runs a gym in San Rafael, known for getting young military recruits in shape for boot camp.

"We've been able to go to keep kids out of gangs and do a lot of things in the community. That's what I want to say," said Allen.

Lying about receiving military medals is against federal law under the stolen valor act, if that person profited by the lie.

Last year Allen held a fundraiser for his gym.

The FBI did not return KTVU's call asking if it was launching an investigation.

But Allen's reputation has taken a hit, among those who fought for this country.

"I sent him an email with one word, ‘why?' He didn't respond," said Sammons.

The Marine Corps says it has banned Allen from participating in any Marine events.