Ex-soldier pleads not guilty to medals charges

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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