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United States of America v. Marcos D. Guzman
Case Number: 6:20-cr-06075-EAW
Judge: Elizabeth A. Wolford
Court: United States District Court for the Western District of New York (Monroe County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney’s Office
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Rochester, NY - The United States of America charged Marcos D. Guzman with making fraudulent representations about the receipt of military metals.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who is handling the case, stated that Guzman lied to the U.S. Probation Office about his military service and being awarded two Purple Hearts in order to try to get a lower sentence on two pending firearms offenses. Specifically, the defendant lied about serving in the United States National Guard, being deployed to Iraq for 18 months, and receiving two Purple Hearts for saving another soldier on the battlefield in Iraq. Guzman provided photographs to the U.S. Probation Office that purported to show the two Purple Heart certificates. The Purple Heart certificates were fake.
In April 2019, Guzman was convicted of theft of firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee and possession of firearms by a convicted felon, after stealing approximately 87 firearms from Chinappi’s Firearms & Supplies, a gun store on West Ridge Road in Spencerport, NY. Co-defendants Dakota Sarfaty and Luis D. Marcano-Agosto have also been convicted. Many of the firearms were sold on the streets of Rochester.
“As our Nation comes together to celebrate July 4th, we also reflect on those brave men and women of the military who made, and who continue to make, sacrifices so that we may enjoy the blessings of liberty,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “For a convicted armed felon and thief to attempt to receive leniency for his criminal acts by fraudulently cloaking himself in an honor reserved for our bravest of military heroes is the antithesis of honor and conduct which is deserving of special recognition—in the form of its very own criminal conviction.”
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito, New York Field Division; the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Todd Baxter; the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief La’Ron Singletary; the VA Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Christopher Algieri; and the Yates County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Ron Spike.
18:704.M MILITARY MEDALS OR DECORATIONS
(a) In General.—Whoever knowingly purchases, attempts to purchase, solicits for purchase, mails, ships, imports, exports, produces blank certificates of receipt for, manufactures, sells, attempts to sell, advertises for sale, trades, barters, or exchanges for anything of value any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States, or any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, or the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration or medal, or any colorable imitation thereof, except when authorized under regulations made pursuant to law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
(b) Fraudulent Representations About Receipt of Military Decorations or Medals.—Whoever, with intent to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit, fraudulently holds oneself out to be a recipient of a decoration or medal described in subsection (c)(2) or (d) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
(c) Enhanced Penalty for Offenses Involving Congressional Medal of Honor.—
(1) In general.—If a decoration or medal involved in an offense under subsection (a) is a Congressional Medal of Honor, in lieu of the punishment provided in that subsection, the offender shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
(2) Congressional medal of honor defined.—In this subsection, the term "Congressional Medal of Honor" means—
(A) a medal of honor awarded under section 3741, 6241, or 8741 of title 10 or section 491 of title 14;
(B) a duplicate medal of honor issued under section 3754, 6256, or 8754 of title 10 or section 504 of title 14; or
(C) a replacement of a medal of honor provided under section 3747, 6253, or 8747 of title 10 or section 501 of title 14.
(d) Enhanced Penalty for Offenses Involving Certain Other Medals.—
(1) In general.—If a decoration or medal involved in an offense described in subsection (a) is a distinguished-service cross awarded under section 3742 of title 10, a Navy cross awarded under section 6242 of title 10, an Air Force cross awarded under section 8742 of section 1 10, a silver star awarded under section 3746, 6244, or 8746 of title 10, a Purple Heart awarded under section 1129 of title 10, a combat badge, or any replacement or duplicate medal for such medal as authorized by law, in lieu of the punishment provided in the applicable subsection, the offender shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
(2) Combat badge defined.—In this subsection, the term "combat badge" means a Combat Infantryman's Badge, Combat Action Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Combat Action Ribbon, or Combat Action Medal.
Outcome: Defendant pleaded guilty and faces a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.