In an ongoing investigation, more than 800 soldiers are under investigation for scamming a National Guard program for millions of dollars in bonuses, reports USA Today.
The program, put in place during the most intense years of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, provided a financial bonus to each soldier who referred their friend to enlist. Currently it is believed that fraudulent payments through the Recruiting Assistance Program total in the tens of millions of dollars.
Tom Vanden Brook, reporting for USA Today, writes:
An Army audit found that 1,200 recruiters had received payments that were potentially fraudulent, and another 2,000 recruiting assistants had received questionable payments. More than 200 officers remain under investigation, [Senator Claire] McCaskill said. As of January, there were 555 active investigations involving 840 people, she said.
In all, as many as 100,000 soldiers will have to be screened to determine whether they scammed the system.
The Recruiting Assistance Program began in 2005 through the Army National Guard with the hope of boosting dwindling enlistment rates. The program later was extended to the Army Reserve and the active-duty Army before being cancelled in 2012 following an audit that turned up potential fraud.
A hearing on the fraud is scheduled for Tuesday before a panel McCaskill chairs on financial and contractor oversight. The Army has yet to comment on the allegations.
Ironically enough, the entirety of the Recruiting Assistance Program may have been illegal to begin with. Limits on bonuses that could be paid for potential recruits, put in place by Congress, were disregarded from the start of the program.
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