BALTIMORE — Three Maryland residents are facing federal charges for stealing over $820,000 in V.A. benefits.
The five-count indictment alleges that 33-year-old Angela Marie Farr served as the organizer of a conspiracy in which she submitted false and fraudulent documents to the Department of Veterans Affairs claiming that Farr, her then-husband, Michael Pace, and her father, Individual 1, were homebound and required full-time assistance and disability compensation.
Farr’s mother, 62-year-old Mary Biggs, conspired with Farr to file fraudulent documents on behalf of Individual 1, and, when Farr so exaggerated Individual 1’s disabilities that the VA determined that Individual 1 could not handle his own finances, appointed Biggs as Individual 1’s fiduciary.
According to the Department of Justice, Farr was a member of the United States Navy from August 2, 2005 to April 19, 2007 and on October 6, 2009, she received a service-connected disability rating of 70% based on fraudulent documentation she submitted, which purported that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from an incident in which she was raped by another serviceman. Farr admitted to local law enforcement to fabricating the incident.
She also claimed to the VA that she suffered a traumatic brain injury from an on-duty car accident, which was also determined to be a fabrication.
Ultimately, the VA increased Farr’s service-connected disability rating to 100% based on additional fraudulent documentation she submitted. As a result, Farr received approximately $390,000 from the VA to which she was not entitled.
The indictment contues, stating that Farr is charged with stealing the identity of a physician identified as “Doctor 1” when she submitted forged documents to the VA purportedly authored by that physician. She is also charged with social security fraud for fraudulently receiving $35,000 in Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for her claimed disabilities.
39-year-old Michael Vincent Pace was a member of the United States Army from August 30, 2001, to February 2, 2002, and from January 4, 2005, to June 2, 2006, as well as the United States Army National Guard from May 22, 2007, to October 28, 2007.
Pace and Farr were married from 2008 until they divorced on December 5, 2017. Pace was deemed to be 100% disabled by the VA, based on fraudulent medical documentation submitted to the VA. Despite claiming to be profoundly disabled, Pace also received a Caregiver Assistance stipend from the VA exceeding $2,500 per month for purportedly caring for Farr. As a result, Pace received approximately $274,000 from the VA to which he was not entitled.
Mary Francis Biggs was Farr’s mother, and the wife of Individual 1. Individual 1 was a member of the United States Navy from January 29, 1974, to January 31, 1997, and is Farr’s father. Individual 1 received a 100% service-connected disability rating by the VA based on fraudulent documentation Farr and Biggs submitted on his behalf.
In 2017, the VA determined, based on fraudulent documentation, that Individual 1 was not capable of managing his finances because of his purported disabilities, and appointed Biggs as Individual 1’s fiduciary. As such, Biggs was responsible for the receipt and expenditure of Individual 1’s fraudulently obtained VA benefits funds. As a result, Biggs and Individual 1 received approximately $156,000 in disability compensation and SMC to which they were not entitled. Biggs conspired with Farr to hide from the VA the fact that Individual 1 was capable of working, and was in fact actively employed.
Farr, Pace, and Individual 1 purported to be wheelchair-bound and to require in-home nursing to accomplish everyday tasks due to their claimed service-connected injures.
However, during the period they were purportedly disabled, Farr operated a social media marketing company based in Leonardtown, Maryland, Pace raised his three children and regularly exercised at a local CrossFit gym, and Individual 1 was employed as a division head at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, Maryland.
If convicted, Farr faces a mandatory minimum of 2 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; Biggs and Pace face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.