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Tucson man faces charges of impersonating Air Force officer

  • Updated

A Tucson man is being jailed until his July arraignment on suspicion he posed as a two-star general to get onto Southern Arizona’s largest military installation.

Jeffery Lee Bennett, 46, is accused of donning a U.S. Air Force uniform with the rank of major general and entering the Fort Huachuca Army post in Sierra Vista on two occasions in March and April.

He’s also accused of possessing a fake military identification card and of knowingly putting a phony Department of Defense vehicle sticker on the silver Volkswagen used to drive past the fort’s guard gates.

While dressed as a general,  the suspect went shopping at the fort’s commissary and post exchange and bought $62 worth of groceries and tax-free items, federal court records say.

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson claims Bennett told two FBI agents “that he falsely claimed to be a major general” and had “obtained rank, uniform and medals that he used to portray himself” as such.

A federal grand jury in Tucson on Wednesday returned a seven-count indictment against Bennett, said a news release Thursday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix.

Each of the seven counts are felony offenses. The most serious charge, Entry by False Pretenses to Real Property of the United States with the intent to commit a felony, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

Bennett is being held in custody until his July 8 arraignment. He was deemed to be a flight risk with no ties to the community, court records show.

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