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Pentagon: Military recruiters fraudulently took $92 million in bonuses

The Pentagon is investigating a report alleging that more than $92 million in bonuses – supposed to be given to soldiers and civilians who referred enlistees – were actually given to military recruiters who were not eligible for the bonuses, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The bonuses were part of the Recruiting Assistance Programs, which started in 2005 as part of an effort to recruit more soldiers for the two wars. At the time, soldiers were being deployed more often because there were fewer recruits, the Post reported.

The recruiting campaign offered $2,000 to soldiers or civilians who referred an enlistee to the Guard or Reserve. Those soldiers and civilians were signed up as “recruiting assistants.”

Military recruiters were not eligible for the bounties although an ongoing investigation has found that more than 1,700 recruiters signed up friends as “recruiting assistants” who would receive the bounty and then split it with the recruiter.

An Army Audit Agency found that more than a quarter of the $339 million in bonuses given over the last six years may have been fraudulent, the Post reported.

An Alabama company, Docupak, was contracted to run the recruiting assistant program for the Pentagon. Docupak received $345 for each recruit enlisted through the program.

Pentagon auditors found the company did not report potential fraud, the Post reported.

The Post referred to Thomas Kaszas, 34, a recruiting sergeant for the Georgia Army National Guard who set up a bank account with a recruiting assistant. His partner said he recruited a dozen enlistees, received $24,000 and then wired it to another account that belonged to Kaszas.

Kaszas pleaded guilty in September 2010 to wire fraud and had to repay Docupak.

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