July 24, 2003 -- Posted at 7:44 a.m. CDT
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- An Arkansas woman quietly apologized for trying to defraud a fund set up for victims of the September 11 terror attacks, but a judge said she wronged those who died and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
42-year-old Tommie Joyce Martin of Mountain Home pleaded guilty in federal court in March to one count of mail fraud. Federal prosecutors said Martin schemed to collect a 50-thousand dollar advance in survivor benefits from the Victim Compensation Fund.
She identified the dead brother as William Fielder, claiming he was a firefighter killed at the World Trade Center.
But Martin does not have a brother by that name and there was no one with that name on the New York City Fire Department at the time, the government said. The name also has not appeared on victim lists, according to the indictment.