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She asked again in a different way, noting that as sergeant major in the Marine Corps, his retirement would have been a big deal.

That’s when Mr. Alvarez wouldn’t answer any more of her questions, she said.

“He looked at me and he said, ‘Ms. Campbell, I know what you’re doing, and I don’t like it,’” she said.

With a handful of people in the room, she responded before walking out of the room.

Mr. Alvarez,” she recalled saying, “I know what you’re doing, and I don’t like it.”

Still, she said, she treated Mr. Alvarez professionally on the rest of the trip. But after the trip, she said, she called the FBI. Agents later working on the case separately became aware of another statement by Mr. Alvarez describing his Congressional Medal of Honor at a water board meeting in Pomona, Calif. — a statement that formed the basis of the criminal charge against him.

“I’m a retired Marine of 25 years,” he said when introduced as the newest member of the board about a month later. “I just retired in 2001. Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal.”

Mr. Alvarez ultimately was convicted and sentenced to probation and community service. In a sentencing letter, he wrote, “I’m so remorseful and embarrassed of my misconduct.”

Mr. Alvarez’s public defender, Brianna Fuller, wrote in a sentencing memo that Mr. Alvarez’s lie at the water board “was not a lie that caused physical, financial or other tangible harm to any person, but it was surely offensive to military personnel.”

By the time the investigation into Mr. Alvarez was under way, Ms. Campbell had other concerns. Days after the trip to Big Creek, she said, she was suspended by the company and told that it was unprofessional to confront Mr. Alvarez.

One supervisor said, “I don’t understand why you made such a big deal. You’re not even a Marine anymore,” Ms. Campbell recalled.

“Do you understand what they do to earn their awards?” Ms. Campbell replied.

Suspended from her job, Ms. Campbell said she later got a phone call from the company asking her to attend a meeting. When she walked into the office, she said, she saw boxes full of her belongings.

It was official, she said — she’d been fired.