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Arizona Air National Guardsmen Indicted for Defrauding Government

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Twenty-one people who served in the Arizona Air National Guard have been indicted for allegedly defrauding the federal government of more than $1.4 million.

According to Arizona Attorney General Horne's office, the 21 -- including eight officers and 13 enlisted guardsmen -- falsified military records in order to get "Temporary Duty Disbursements."

That money is meant for military members who are traveling away from home on orders.

The AG's office alleges the guardsmen, who served in the 214th Reconnaissance Group based in Tucson, used fake home addresses that put them outside of Tucson, so they got this money.

Horne announced today that most of the people involved took home more than $100,000 between November 2007 and September 2010.

The AG's office released the name of just one person indicted, a Colonel Davies, who was the former commander of the 214th Reconnaissance Group.

According to Horne's office, Davies is accused of "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."

"Some of these men and women received benefits in excess of 4 and 5-times their salaries in temporary duty entitlements," Horne says in a statement. "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."

Horne says the 214th Reconnaissance Group has been tasked with flying Predator drones over Afghanistan and Iraq by satellite.

It's interesting that Horne's office is prosecuting the case instead of federal prosecutors.

A press release from Horne says:

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.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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