A Knoxville couple is accused of faking military records so they could receive military benefits they do not qualify for.
Charles Kaczmarczyk, 59, and his wife, Martha Ann Kaczmarczyk, 62, were arrested Tuesday. Last week, a federal grand jury indicted them on charges that they conspired to steal public money from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration.
The indictment claims that Charles Kaczmarczyk fabricated information about his participation in Special Operation combat missions. Investigators say the couple manufactured false U.S. Air Force records showing that Kaczmarczyk had earned numerous medals for his combat experience, including two Purple Hearts and two Silver Stars.
Additionally, the indictment alleges that Martha Ann Kaczmarczyk separately submitted false information to the Social Security Administration in support of her own disability claim.
Between October 2006 and May 2012, the indictment says the Kaczmarczyks obtained more than $1000 in disability payments and benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration.
The couple appeared today in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Tuesday afternoon, where they pleaded not guilty.
The two were originally ordered to be released on bond, but after further questioning, the judge ordered them to be held overnight and be brought back before the court at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Their trial date is set for September 26, 2012. If convicted, both face a term of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. They could also be ordered to pay restitution and to forfeit the proceeds of this conspiracy.
This investigation was a joint effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force, Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Air Force.