Guardsmen plead not guilty to identity theft - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guardsmen plead not guilty to identity theft

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It was a nationwide program to recruit people to join the National Guard that was scrapped three years ago after audits turned up evidence of potential fraud.  Close to 800 soldiers across the country are reportedly under criminal investigation for gaming the National Guard's Recruiting Assistance Program (GRAP). At least two of those under investigation are from Guam and face federal charges, which they answered to today in district court.

It was a packed courtroom as a retired member of the U.S. Army Reserve's 203rd Quartermaster Detachment and a member of the Guam National Guard appeared in the District Court of Guam on Thursday morning and pleaded not guilty to charges of theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Guard member John C. Carbullido is represented by Attorney Curtis Van De Veld, while retiree Charlene Apatang-Blas is represented by Public Defender John T. Gorman.

Carbullido and Blas are accused of being involved in a scheme to collect recruitment bonuses under the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program, to which they were not entitled. Both Guard members were released from custody, but conditions were set for Carbullido. During the hearing the U.S. Probation Office and U.S. Government recommended that Carbullido be detained because of information from the Army's Criminal Investigation Command that he allegedly made a phone call to Command Sergeant Major Melchor Hennegan and made threatening remarks, which included a threat against the Guam Army National Guard's adjutant general, Brigadier General Roderick Leon Guerrero.

Concerns were also raised that Carbullido may be tempted to tamper with a particular witness who is his co-worker. Additionally General Leon Guerrero requested that Carbullido not be allowed entry to the Guam National Guard Readiness Center in Barrigada to ensure the safety and welfare of the members that work in the faciliites.

Attorney Van De Veld responded however that the government could not provide any specific statements on the alleged threats.

Carbullido is a firefighter with the Guam Fire Department and stationed in Agat. He is currently on personal leave. The federal judge allowed for his release, but ordered that he stay away from Gen. Leon Guerrero and CSM Hennegan. Carbullido was also ordered not to discuss the case with a witness who is also a firefighter stationed in Agat. He was also ordered to stay away from the Guam Army National Guard Readiness Center.

Trial for Carbullido and Blas was set for July 6.

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