Three persons have been disciplined and the activities of eight others are under investigation in Alabama in connection with a multimillion-dollar Army National Guard recruiting fraud scandal, according to an Alabama National Guard spokesman.
The fraud surfaced in a recruiting initiative entitled the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program, or G-RAP, which was shut down in 2012. A U.S. Department of Justice news release last year described G-RAP as a “recruiting program that was designed to offer monetary incentives to soldiers of the Army National Guard who referred others to join the Army National Guard. Through this program, a participating soldier could receive bonus payments for referring another individual to join.”
What appears to have happened is that many Guard soldiers have received payments for recruits they did not bring into the military. Two years ago in Mississippi, according to a Department of Justice release, a National Guard recruiter and a soldier each pleaded guilty to theft of government funds through G-RAP.
The scandal came under a national spotlight during congressional hearings earlier this year, and media reports have stated that millions of dollars are alleged to have been spent on these fraudulent recruiting efforts. The New York Times has reported that G-RAP became “an illegal free-for-all that could cost taxpayers close to $100 million.”
In emails, Maj. Andrew Richardson, a spokesman at Alabama Guard headquarters in Montgomery, said the Guard has been working with criminal investigators in their probe of “some cases in Alabama of abuse of the program.
“Three service members received administrative adverse action, but I cannot give specifics on that,” Richardson said last week in an email. He said eight other Alabama Guard members “or former service members are still under investigation” by the military’s Criminal Investigation Division or the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Asked how much money is suspected to have been fraudulently obtained in Alabama or how much restitution investigators may be seeking, Richardson said, “The disposition of the open cases will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Attorney and possibly a judge and/or jury, so I do not have any specifics on how much may or may not be sought in restitution.”
A spokeswoman at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Birmingham said she could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation. A spokeswoman at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montgomery said she was not aware of an investigation, but said that if she were aware of one, she would not confirm or deny its existence.