Three of 21 accused Air Guard members plead not guilty

2013-10-26T00:00:00Z 2013-10-26T14:15:18Z Three of 21 accused Air Guard members plead not guiltyBy Patrick McNamara Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

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.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or pmcnamara@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @pm929.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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