The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 12, 2014

Guard recruiting assistants investigated


The Mankato Free Press

---- — MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Three cases of potential fraud involving Minnesota National Guard recruiting assistants are under investigation as part of a widespread probe into an alleged scheme to take fraudulent payments and kickbacks from a National Guard recruiting program.

National Guard soldiers are accused of taking kickbacks for signing up new recruits. The scam involved the Recruiting Assistance Program, which paid soldiers and even civilians thousands of dollars for helping to enlist a new recruit.

The Minnesota National Guard confirms three cases in which recruiting assistants are under investigation for improperly receiving cash benefits, the Star Tribune reported.

Since the referral program started in 2005, a total of 2,719 recruiting assistants received a cash payment from the Army for referring applicants to Minnesota Army National Guard recruiters, the Minnesota Guard said.

The Minnesota Guard investigation reviewed all of the referrals from these recruiting assistants and forwarded 16 cases to the National Guard Bureau in 2012 for further scrutiny. The National Guard Bureau examined the 16 cases and referred them to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division for further investigation. Of those four cases, one was not substantiated.

"We have been working closely with military and civilian authorities to pursue prosecution and restitution where fraud was committed, and to discipline those who were negligent in their duties," a Minnesota Guard spokesman, Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, said.

Olson declined to provide further details or identify the suspects, citing the ongoing investigation.

Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com