New York man faked valor to get lighter prison sentence on firearms charges, feds say

Julia LeDoux
July 11, 2020 - 7:45 am
Crime scene



A Rochester, N.Y., man has pled guilty in federal court to lying about his military service and being awarded two Purple Hearts in order to try to get a lower sentence on two pending firearms cases.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey in a release said Marcus D. Guzman lied about being in the National Guard and being deployed to Iraq.  Guzman also falsely claimed he received two Purple Hearts for saving another soldier’s life on the battlefield. 

“For a convicted armed felon and thief to attempt to receive leniency for his criminal acts by fraudulently cloaking himself in an honor reserved for our bravest of military heroes is the antithesis of honor and conduct which is deserving of special recognition—in the form of its very own criminal conviction,” said Harvey.

Guzman, 36, provided photos to the U.S. Probation Office purporting to show two Purple Heart certificates, according to the release.

“The Purple Heart certificates were fake,” reads the release.

The murder of Vanessa Guillen is now a ‘reckoning moment’ for the military

In April of 2019, Guzman was convicted of stealing firearms and possession of firearms by a convicted felon after stealing approximately 87 firearms from Chinappi’s Firearms & Supplies, a gun store in Spencerport, NY. Co-defendants Dakota Sarfaty and Luis D. Marcano-Agosto have also been convicted. 

NCIS warns sailors to avoid buying LSD on the dark web

“Many of the firearms were sold on the streets of Rochester,” continues the release.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department, the VA Office of Inspector General. Criminal Investigations Division and the Yates County Sheriff’s Office.

Guzman faces a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $100.000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced  Aug. 12.

Reach Julia LeDoux at

Want to stay more connected to all the stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.