Facts at Odds with Army Story on Referral Bonus Fraud

WASHINGTON (May 7, 2014) ― Army officials have spent months focusing all attention about fraud in referral bonus programs on the Army National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP). Court documents, however, show the problem was pervasive across the Total Army.

Publically available documents and records collected by the National Guard Association of the United States indicate fraud existed in referral programs across the Army―not just in the Guard. Documents also reveal that Army officials have grossly overstated the amount of fraud that existed in G-RAP.

The documents and records are the basis of the NGAUS research paper, “The G-RAP Program: The Investigations and an Injection of Reality,” which is available here. G-RAP ran from 2005 to 2012. The active-component Army and Army Reserve offered similar referral bonus programs for shorter periods.  

“The benefit of hindsight shows that a few in our ranks used an otherwise great program to steal from our government,” said retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, the NGAUS president. “We are embarrassed by it, we are outraged by it, but we do admit it occurred.  

“What’s puzzling is that Army officials have failed to acknowledge that this was an Army-wide problem,” he said. “In fact, it appears that there is an attempt to focus public anger over fraud in all Army recruiting programs exclusively on the Army National Guard.”

One example is a group in San Antonio, Texas, whose members were convicted of defrauding $244,000 from five different referral bonus programs, including $191,000 from active-component Army and Army Reserve programs. The ring, according to court records, paid three recruiters in U.S. Army Recruiting Command for information that allowed ring members to make their illicit referral claims. Nevertheless, Army officials have publically couched this as only a G-RAP case.

NGAUS wonders if Army officials are going to make the same claims tomorrow (May 8) during a hearing on this matter by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight.  

The association also wonders when, if ever, Army officials will release their internal audit of active-component referral bonus programs.  

“What we really need here is an independent, comprehensive review of all referral bonus programs across the Army,” Hargett said. “Let the Government Accountability Office study these programs. Have the Inspector General look into why a six-year CID investigation that was supposed to uncover as much as $92 million in G-RAP fraud has net convictions thus far of less than $1 million.

“Let’s get all the facts out and let them speak for themselves.”

Reporters, Editors & Producers: Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett is available for interviews or to appear as a subject matter expert on defense issues related to the National Guard. Contact John Goheen at 202-789-0031 or john.goheen@ngaus.org to schedule an interview or appearance.

About NGAUS: The association includes nearly 45,000 current or former Guard officers. It was created in 1878 to provide unified National Guard representation in Washington. In their first productive meeting after Reconstruction, militia officers from the North and South formed the association with the goal of obtaining better equipment and training by petitioning Congress for more resources. Today, 136 years later, NGAUS has the same mission.