By: Richard L. Smith
A Long Valley resident admitted Tuesday to defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of more than $118,000 in disability benefits and sending an interstate text message threatening a federal agent with bodily injury, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
According to Federal officials, Kamil Wakulik, 38, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge José R. Almonte to an information charge with theft of government funds and interstate transmission of a threat of injury.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Wakulik was an active service member in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007. In 2018, during an assessment by the VA for disability benefits, Wakulik made false representations that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder based on his active-duty service.
Wakulik claimed that he was assigned to and participated in active-duty missions that required him to recover human remains following natural disasters in the Philippines and Thailand he was not involved in recovering human remains.
Based on these false statements, the VA increased Wakulik’s disability rating and provided additional monthly disability benefit payments to him, totaling over $118,000.
On Aug. 23, 2022, Wakulik sent an interstate text message to an agent of the VA, Office of Inspector General, threatening physical violence against the agent and any other agent involved in investigating Wakulik.
The charge of theft of government funds carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.
The charge of interstate transmission of a threat of injury carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 6, 2023.