Three of 21 Arizona Air National Guard members accused of fraudulently drawing reimbursement expenses were in Pima County Superior Court on Friday for their initial court appearances.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office indicted the current and former guardsmen on felony charges including illegal control of an enterprise, conspiracy, theft, fraudulent schemes and artifices and money laundering.
Most of them were not present for arraignment before hearing officer Roger Duncan. Arraignments for them were reset for Nov. 26, when case management conferences are scheduled for all the defendants.
The three defendants who were arraigned Friday were Gregg Davies, Michael Kavanaugh and Steven Hanson. All three pleaded not guilty.
The remaining defendants are Gilbert Delgado, Jason Forte, Valdez Fitchett, Jeff Koziczkowski, Abraham Fabela, Joshua Lowery, David Vasquez, Jeffrey Wolff, Melissa Barnes, Gary Bonnett, Jacqueline Crow, Jamie Hawkins, Michael Hebb, Lisa Agoodie, Jeffrey Case, Jonathan Grim, Justin Guarine and Caleb Maxeiner.
Other than Davies, who was a colonel, none of the defendants’ ranks were identified, beyond a statement by the prosecutors that eight were officers and and 13 were enlisted personnel.
They served in the 214th Reconnaissance Group of the Arizona Air National Guard at Davis-Monthan, and are accused of falsifying records to collectively receive more than $1.4 million in temporary duty pay, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
Temporary Duty Disbursement pay, or TDY, is intended for members of the military traveling away from home, or when deployed to help pay for their expenses.
The attorney general accused the guardsmen of using false addresses to make it appear they were working away from their home bases in order to be eligible for the reimbursements.
The alleged crimes took place between 2007 and 2010 when the guardsmen with the 214th operated Predator drones in Iraq and Afghanistan from Tucson.
The indictment casts Davies as the key player in the alleged scheme, charging him with 74 of the 75 counts.
Davies, who was a colonel, was fired in November 2009 amid allegations he participated in helping falsify documents.
A U.S. Air Force investigation four years ago also found guardsmen used fake addresses to earn the additional pay.