Guard Soldiers, Recruiters Charged in Scheme

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HOUSTON (AP) - Federal prosecutors say 14 Army National Guard soldiers and recruiters have been charged in a scheme to obtain thousands of dollars in bonuses that are awarded for signing new recruits.

Prosecutors said Friday the 14 people, some of whom are no longer serving, worked in the Houston and San Antonio areas. They are among 25 who have been charged so far in the investigation. Eleven have pleaded guilty to charges ranging from bribery and witness tampering to wire fraud.

Authorities say the defendants targeted a recruiting program that offered up to $3,000 in bonuses to soldiers who referred others to join the Guard. In one instance, a recruiter provided contact names to three others so that they could claim signing bonuses. The three then provided kickbacks to the recruiter.