A retired colonel and a sergeant in the Army National Guard have been charged in a nine-count indictment in Albuquerque, N.M., for allegedly defrauding the National Guard Bureau and its contractor of approximately $12,000 by fraudulently obtaining recruiting bonuses, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Retired Colonel Isaac Alvarado, 74, of Albuquerque, N.M. was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft in an indictment that was filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. Sergeant First Class Travis Nau, 40, also of Albuquerque, N.M., was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, in approximately September 2005, the National Guard Bureau entered into a contract with Document and Packaging Broker Inc. to administer the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP). The G-RAP was 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. Based on certain milestones achieved by the referred soldier, a participating soldier would receive payment through direct deposit into the participating soldier’s designated bank account. To participate in the program, soldiers were required to create online recruiting assistant accounts. The rules prohibited Army National Guard recruiters from participating in the G-RAP.
According to court documents, between approximately November 2007 and February 2012, Alvarado participated as a recruiting assistant in the G-RAP. Nau, who worked in a recruiting office and is Alvarado’s son-in-law, allegedly provided Alvarado with the names and Social Security numbers of potential soldiers. This enabled Alvarado to claim that he was responsible for referring these potential soldiers to join the military, when in fact he did not recruit any of them. In addition, Nau advised at least two potential soldiers to falsely report that Alvarado had assisted in their recruitment even though he had not. As a result, Alvarado allegedly received a total of approximately $12,000 in fraudulent recruiting bonuses.
An indictment is merely a charge and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count. Each wire fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Each count of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year sentence in prison. Each charged count carries a maximum fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain.
The case is being investigated by special agents from the Fort Bliss Army Criminal Investigation Command. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Sean F. Mulryne, Mark J. Cipolletti and Heidi Boutros Gesch of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.