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Former California National Guard Master Sergeant Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison in $15 Million False Claims Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2012

LOS ANGELES - The California National Guard’s former Bonus and Incentive Manager was sentenced today to 30 months in federal prison for submitting $15.2 million dollars in false and fraudulent claims to the United States Department of Defense.

Retired Master Sergeant Toni L. Jaffe, 52, of Citrus Heights, was sentenced by United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee. In addition to the prison term, Judge Gee ordered Jaffe to pay $15,200,000.

“Ms. Jaffe deliberately misappropriated millions of dollars of federal government funds and she has now been held accountable for her actions,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr., whose office prosecuted the case.  “We appreciate the California National Guard’s cooperation with federal investigators to help bring this serious fraud and abuse to a halt.”

Jaffe pleaded guilty in August 2011 to making a false claim against the United States. When she pleaded guilty, Jaffe admitted that from the fall of 2007 through October 2009, she routinely submitted false and fictitious claims on behalf of her fellow California National Guard members. Jaffe admitted that she submitted claims to pay bonuses to members of the California National Guard whom she knew were not eligible to receive the bonuses and to pay off officer’s loans, even though she knew the officers were ineligible for loan repayment. According to her plea agreement, Jaffe is responsible for $15.2 million in wrongfully paid bonuses and loan repayments.

“As the Bonus and Incentive Manager for the California National Guard, defendant Toni Jaffe was entrusted to millions of dollars of Department of Defense funds,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo filed with the court. “Defendant completely and utterly abused that trust. During a two year period, defendant gave out over $15 million of government funds to friends, colleagues, and others whom she knew were not entitled to receive that money.”

Jaffe specifically pleaded guilty to a January 2009 incident, in which she submitted a fraudulent claim on behalf of a California National Guard officer resulting in the payment of a $20,000 Critical Skill Retention Bonus to which he was not entitled.

“The California National Guard has been fully cooperating in this investigation from the beginning,” said Major General David Baldwin, the Adjutant General for the California National Guard. “We applaud the United States Attorney's decisive action in this case.”

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Army Criminal Investigative Command, the Defense Criminal Investigative Services, and with the computer forensic assistance of the Department of Toxic Substances Control through the Orange County Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory.

Release No. 12-069

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