'CHiPs' Star Avoids Jail Sentence—Thanks to Being a Vietnam Vet?

Linda Sharps

Larry Wilcox, who some of you may remember as California police officer Jon Baker on CHiPs (aka "not Ponch, but the other guy"), was sentenced today on charges of securities fraud conspiracy.

The 63-year-old actor faced a possible five years in jail after pleading guilty in November when he was caught by the FBI in a sting bust. In a statement about his arrest, Wilcox was named for his role in various kickback schemes aimed to "manipulate the volume and price of microcap stocks and illegally generate stock sales.”

Wilcox was charged with conspiracy, securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud, but managed to avoid getting thrown behind bars in today's ruling. His Get of Of Jail Free Card? Being a Marine in 1967 and spending 13 months in Vietnam.

According to TMZ, the judge told a contrite Wilcox he was sparing him a jail sentence because of his service in Vietnam—in addition to his extensive record of community service.

Instead facing up to five years in prison, he got three years of probation, 500 hours of community service, and a fine of $100 for conspiring to commit securities fraud.

It sounds like the judge chose to be lenient with Wilcox based on more than just his prior military service . . . but still, it seems like an odd thing to mention in court. What does being a Vietnam vet have to do with committing fraud, exactly?

Do you think being a vet should help a person get a lesser conviction when they commit a crime?

Image via Amazon

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