This unusual case arises from the marriage between defendant Darlene Dedman’s (“Dedman”) adopted daughter (who was actually Dedman’s cousin) and Dedman’s adoptive father. Dedman appeals her conviction on the counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States Department of Defense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286, and making material false statements to a federal agent, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. For these offenses she was sentenced to 27 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay over $200,000 in restitution. The government alleged that Dedman orchestrated the marriage as part of a plan to collect her adoptive father’s, John Watson’s (“Watson”), military pension. Dedman argues that she could not be guilty of conspiracy because the marriage between her adopted daughter and her adoptive father was valid and, therefore, there was no false claim. Furthermore, Dedman asserts that if the marriage was statutorily invalid, then the marriage law is unconstitutional. (Emphasis added.)
And yes, it all took place in Arkansas.