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Wife of bogus war hero sentenced to 20 months in prison

KNOXVILLE — The wife of an Air Force veteran was sentenced to 20 months in prison today for helping her husband rip off the government of bogus benefits and for faking her own back injuries.

Martha Ann Kaczmarczyk, 63, of Knoxville pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in September to conspiring to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration of more than $100,000 over a six-year period.

Her husband, Charles C. Kaczmarczyk, was sentenced last month to 30 months in federal prison. The veteran claimed to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, and managed to fake documents for various medals, including the Purple Heart and the Silver Star for false exploits in the Vietnam War. The truth was that he barely left U.S. shores during his service and never saw a day of combat.

He swindled the government out of nearly $458,000 before his lies were exposed.

Martha A. Kaczmarcyzk also was ordered to pay $326,390.90 in restitution to the VA and Social Security Administration.

"These benefits are intended for our veterans," said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian in a written statement today. "The outcome of this case sends a message to all who consider trying to falsely obtain veteran benefits. We will continued to prosecute those who wrongfully receive government benefits."

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