Family Members Were Falsely Claiming Disability Benefits From The Department Of Veterans Affairs
News Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland
Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Angela Marie Farr, a/k/a Angela Pace, Angela Mullins, and Angela Biggs, age 33, of Leonardtown, Maryland; Michael Vincent Pace, age 39, of Leonardtown, Maryland, and Mary Francis Biggs, age 62, of Lexington Park, Maryland with conspiracy and theft of government property. Farr was also charged with aggravated identity theft and social security fraud.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge of the Mid-Atlantic Field Office Kim R. Lampkins for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General.
The five-count indictment alleges that Farr served as the organizer of a conspiracy in which she submitted false and fraudulent documents to the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) 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, 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.
Angela Marie Farr was a member of the United States Navy from August 2, 2005, to April 19, 2007. On October 6, 2009, Farr 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. Farr 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.
Farr is also charged with stealing the identity of a physician identified in the indictment as “Doctor 1” when she submitted forged documents to the VA purportedly authored by that physician. Farr is also charged with social security fraud for fraudulently receiving $35,000 in Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for her claimed disabilities.
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.
On July 5, 2017, the VA determined, based on fraudulent documentation, that Individual 1 was not capable of managing his finances because of his purported disabilities, and appointedBiggs 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 1purported to be wheelchair-bound and to require in-home nursing to accomplish everyday tasks due to their claimed service-connected injuries. However, during the period they were purportedly disabled, Farroperated a social media marketing company based in Leonardtown, Maryland, Paceraised his three children and regularly exercised at a local CrossFit gym, and Individual 1was 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.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the VA-OIG and the SSA-OIG for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davio, who is prosecuting the case.