Former Florida Army National Guard Recruiter Pleads Guilty To Theft Of Public Money
Tampa, Florida - Christopher James Myers (37, Lakeland) pleaded guilty today to a federal charge of theft of public money. Myers faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison. As part of the agreement, Myers also agreed to forfeit $32,500 to the United States. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to court documents, starting in or about February 2008 and continuing until in or about March 2010, Myers, then a staff sergeant and recruiter with Florida Army National Guard, created false and fraudulent Guard Recruiter Assistance Program ("GRAP") accounts in the name of several Florida Army National Guard members, without their knowledge or consent. Giving the appearance that these other members were enrolling as Recruiter Assistants, Myers used the GRAP accounts to direct payments from the program into his own bank account.
The Army National Guard implemented the GRAP to bolster the recruitment of qualified officers and soldiers. The program allowed current Army National Guard soldiers to enroll online as Recruiter Assistants. As Recruiter Assistants, they would then promote the benefits of service in the Army National Guard, in order to recruit and develop potential soldiers and officers called nominees. The Recruiter Assistant would receive a $1,000 payment upon the signing of an enlistment contract, by a nominee. If the nominee was a prior enlisted military member, this initial payment would be $2,000. The Recruiter Assistant would receive an additional $1,000 payment if and when the nominated recruit completed basic training. Army National Guard Recruiters, such as Myers, were not eligible to participate in the GRAP because they already received their government salary as compensation for their recruitment efforts.
This case was investigated by the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Mueller.