Federal indictments handed down Wednesday say three Minnesota National Guard members fraudulently took bonus money by claiming they'd recruited new Guard members.
Two current and one former Guard members are charged with wire fraud, the Pioneer Press reports, with Lt. Timothy Stafford facing 25 counts while Spc. Terry Wosmek and former Guardsman Quinton Jones are each charged with four counts.
As KSTP explains, the indictments allege that full-time recruiters provided the Guard members with the names of likely enlistees. The Guard members then collected thousands of dollars in bonus money through a program established to boost recruiting. They then shared that money with the actual recruiters, the indictments say.
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According to the Star Tribune, two of the indicted soldiers – Stafford and Wosmek – are from Duluth, while Jones now lives in Hollywood, Florida.
The military says National Guard members in many states were involved in scams to take advantage of recruiting bonuses available through a program that ran from 2005 until 2012.
The Pioneer Press reports military law enforcement officials estimate at least $29 million was lost through such fraud.
KSTP published a statement from the Minnesota National Guard, which says the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Division has been investigating the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program.
"We acknowledge that fraudulent activity took place with this program and continue to work with authorities to identify the accountable individuals and take appropriate action," a spokesman for the Minnesota Guard says.