Ex-soldier pleads not guilty to medals charges

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A 26-year-old former soldier pleaded not
guilty in federal court in Huntsville to wire fraud, making false statements that led to a government contract and wearing war medals
he didn't earn.

Skyler Tarquin Smith did not speak at his arraignment Thursday
before U.S. Magistrate Judge Harwell Davis.

Davis was arrested last week outside an American Legion hall.

When visiting with members that organization, Smith wore two
Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, a Combat Infantry Badge, a Senior
Parachutist Badge and an Air Assault Badge.

Smith was also indicted on charges of wire fraud, involving a
ring he said was worth nearly $350,000 but which the buyer had
appraised at $13.

Federal officials already had a case open on Smith about the ring and complaints about him not following through on a government contract for ballistic vests.

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