Morris County Man Admits Defrauding Department of Veterans Affairs and Threatening Federal Agent
NEWARK, N.J. – A Morris County, New Jersey, man today admitted 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.
Kamil Wakulik, 38, of Long Valley, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge José R. Almonte to an information charging him 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 that occurred in the Philippines and Thailand – in fact, 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.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher F. Algieri, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Baker of the Opioid Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Unit in Newark.