The Edmond Sun

February 6, 2014

Guard announces federal fraud investigation

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

OKLA. CITY — Oklahoma National Guard personnel may have committed fraudulent acts being investigated by federal authorities, a spokesman said.

Oklahoma National Guard spokesman Col. Max Moss said the probe began after investigators found $29 million may have been lost nationwide due to fraud from a program designed to help bolster recruiting efforts by providing financial incentives to National Guard members, retirees and citizens.

“We know that some Oklahoma guardsmen may have committed fraudulent acts that are being investigated by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Moss said.

In 2005, the Recruiting Assistance Program was created to provide monetary rewards to individuals who refer prospective applicants to recruiters, Moss said.

The bonuses offered for each enlistment ranged from $2,000-$7,500 and the vast majority of those participating in the program did so lawfully, Moss said.

Similar efforts were used by the Army Reserve and the active Army, Moss said. The National Guard’s program was ended about six years after it began when Army auditors found bonuses had been paid to individuals who did not earn them, Moss said.

Moss said the Oklahoma National Guard is cooperating fully with investigators.

“As with all alleged criminal acts, we take this issue very seriously,” Moss said.

To protect the integrity of the ongoing probe, the Oklahoma National Guard will not release any specifics about individual cases, Moss said. Because it is ongoing, it isn’t known how many current and former members are under scrutiny, Moss said. | 341-2121, ext. 108