WASHINGTON ? A member of the U.S. military was sentenced today to serve 18 months in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to obtain approximately $244,000 in fraudulent recruiting referral bonuses from various U.S. military components and their contractor, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department?s Criminal Division.
U.S. Army Specialist Richard Garcia, 29, of Kirby, Texas, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery in the Western District of Texas. In addition to his prison term, Judge Biery sentenced Garcia to serve three years of supervised release and ordered Garcia to pay $244,000 in restitution, jointly and severally with co-conspirators.
On July 26, 2012, Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to court documents, Garcia enlisted in the U.S. Army in approximately November 2005.
According to court documents, between 2005 and 2008, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Reserves and the National Guard Bureau entered into contracts with Document and Packaging Broker Inc. (Docupak) to administer recruiting bonus programs designed to offer monetary incentives to soldiers who referred others to join the U.S. military. In addition, the Army managed its own recruiting bonus programs, which offered bonuses to soldiers who referred other individuals to join the Army or the Army Reserves after registering online as recruiting assistants (RA) or sponsors. Through these recruiting programs, a participating soldier could receive up to $2,000 in bonus payments for every person he referred to serve in the U.S. military.
Garcia admitted that he participated in a fraud scheme whereby active duty and civilian contract recruiters provided RAs and sponsors with the names and Social Security numbers of ?walk-in? soldiers ? or persons who decided to join the military without being referred by anyone. Using this information, the RAs and sponsors claimed credit for referring these potential soldiers to join the military, when in fact they did not refer them. As part of the fraud scheme, the RAs and sponsors split the bonus payments with the recruiters and others who provided the potential soldiers? personal identifying information.
According to court documents, Garcia and his co-conspirators received at least $244,000 in fraudulent recruiting referral bonuses in total. Garcia and a co-conspirator personally received a total of approximately $13,000 in fraudulent recruiting referral bonuses by using Garcia?s RA account to claim that Garcia was responsible for referring certain potential soldiers to the U.S. Army, when in fact he had not referred those soldiers.
This case arose from an investigation concerning allegations that former and current soldiers and military and civilian contract recruiters in the San Antonio area engaged in a wide-ranging scheme to obtain fraudulent recruiting referral bonuses. To date, 10 individuals have been charged, all of whom have pleaded guilty. The investigation is ongoing.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Edward J. Loya Jr., Brian A. Lichter and Sean F. Mulryne of the Criminal Division?s Public Integrity Section. The case is being investigated by agents from the San Antonio Fraud Resident Agency of the Major Procurement Fraud Unit, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division.