Joint Investigation Reveals High-Profile Military Group Fraudulently Received Over $1.4 Million in Federal Dollars
Phoenix, AZ (Monday, October 21, 2013) – Attorney General Tom Horne is today announcing the indictment of 21 men and women - 8 officers and 13 enlisted - who served in the 214th Reconnaissance Group (214 RG) of the Arizona Air National Guard (AZ ANG). These indictments come at the conclusion of an 18-month joint effort to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Air Force, the Arizona National Guard, and the Air National Guard.
Between November 2007 and September 2010, the Defendants are accused of intentionally falsifying military records and using fake home addresses in order to receive Temporary Duty Disbursements (TDY), money meant for military members who are on short-term orders and traveling outside their home. Over the course of three years, the majority of defendants fraudulently took home more than $100,000 by claiming to live outside of Tucson.
The Guardsmen were in a federal active duty status, not on Arizona state orders during the time of the alleged illegal activity. The funds they received through the alleged false pretenses were federal monies, not Arizona state dollars.
Created in 2007 and based in Tucson, the 214 RG is a unique and high-profile military group tasked with flying the MQ-1B Predator drone over Iraq and Afghanistan via satellite from ground control stations. These missions entail flying 24/7 operations in order to provide vital information to troops on the ground.
Defendant Col. Davies, the former commander of the 214th RG, is alleged to have provided assistance to 20 co-defendants, using his position of authority to circumvent measures that were supposed to prevent unauthorized temporary duty entitlements when military members are neither deployed nor away for training from their home.
“I am committed to the investigation and prosecution of individuals who fraudulently collect taxpayer money and will use the full resources of my office to prosecute to the fullest extent,” said Attorney General Horne. “Some of these men and women received benefits in excess of 4 and 5-times their salaries in temporary duty entitlements. Conversely, our brave men and women overseas were making pennies on the dollar compared to what this group was receiving while still going home to their families each night.”
“The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs support the Office of the Arizona State Attorney General and the FBI, said Brigadier General Michael T. McGuire. “I welcome the efforts of these law enforcement partners to ensure that we receive an accurate view of the facts and circumstances that led to these indictments. We fully support the legal process."
FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas G. Price, Phoenix Division stated, "Our nation takes great pride in our military personnel who serve and protect us each day. When some individuals allegedly defraud the military system for financial gain it tears away at the very fabric of duty and honor. The FBI and the Arizona Sate Attorney General's Office are committed to investigate and prosecute those who intentionally take advantage of the public's trust."
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Mike Jette. All charges are allegations and the Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.