Jury Finds Fresno Couple Guilty of National Guard Recruiting Fraud
FRESNO, Calif. — After a four-day trial, a federal jury found Jimmy D. Maldonado, 37, and Mayra L. Maldonado, 31, both of Fresno, guilty of three counts of wire fraud in a scheme to fraudulently obtain payments from a military recruitment program for the California Army National Guard, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to evidence presented at trial, Jimmy Maldonado, a former full-time recruiter for the National Guard in the Fresno area, and his wife Mayra Maldonado, a former member of the Guard, defrauded a military recruiting program out of tens of thousands of dollars. The program, the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP), offered a financial incentive to members of the Guard who, on their own civilian time, recruited new soldiers. Guard members, also called Recruiting Assistants, who successfully recruited new soldiers into the Guard were typically eligible to receive $1,000 when a new solider enlisted and another $1,000 when the solider left for basic training.
Mayra Maldonado participated in the G-RAP program as a Recruiting Assistant. Based on documents and testimony presented at trial, Jimmy Maldonado was a full-time recruiter who was ineligible to participate in G-RAP as a Recruiting Assistant and was therefore forbidden to receive G-RAP incentive payments. However, he provided information about new soldiers to his wife Mayra Maldonado. Mayra Maldonado then used that information to claim G-RAP payments for those soldiers, even though she had never met the soldiers and played no role in their decision to join the Guard. In exchange for Jimmy Maldonado giving her information about new soldiers, Mayra Maldonado, on numerous occasions, shared G-RAP money she received with Jimmy Maldonado.
Jimmy and Mayra Maldonado are scheduled to be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on April, 23, 2018. The Maldonados each face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud. The actual sentence will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Army Criminal Investigative Command Major Procurement Fraud Unit, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Tierney and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacklin Chou Lem prosecuted the case.
Other National Guard members and recruiters have been charged in similar schemes in the Eastern District of California. The following defendants have been convicted:
- 2:14-cr-153 TLN — Brian Kaps, 44, of Chico, pleaded guilty on November 21, 2014, to one count of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 22, 2018.
- 2:14-cr-152 TLN — Sarah Nattress, 30, of Paradise, pleaded guilty on October 23, 2014, to one count of wire fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced on February 22, 2018.
- 1:14-cr-107 DAD — Leonardo Pesta, 49, of Mountain View, pleaded guilty on July 27, 2015, to one count of wire fraud and was sentenced to two years of probation.
- 1:14-cr-108-LJO — Nicholas Huerta, 36, of Fresno, pleaded guilty on September 14, 2015, to one count of wire fraud and was sentenced to four years of probation.
- 2:14-cr-151 JAM — Richard C. Sihner, 55, of Elk Grove, was convicted on January 22, 2016 of 18 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements following a seven-day jury trial and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
- 1:14-cr-106 DAD — Joaquin Cuenca, 40, of San Diego, was convicted on February 1, 2016, of three counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements following a seven-day jury trial. He was sentenced to six months in prison.