Pentagon fraud investigators believe large numbers of recruiters used the Army's efforts to boost its ranks to boost their own bank accounts. Internal documents show that more than 1,700 recruiters are suspected of defrauding an Army National Guard and Reserve program that paid $2,000 bounties to civilian or soldier "recruiting assistants" who brought in new enlistees, the Washington Post finds. The recruiters, unable to claim the bounty themselves, are accused of colluding with assistants to claim rewards for people who had already decided to enlist.
In one case, dozens of recruiters and recruiting assistants were found to have shared the same bank account. The program was introduced in 2005 as the military struggled with personnel shortages in Iraq and Afghanistan. Audit documents state that investigators believe that more than a quarter of the $339 million in bounties paid since the program began may have been fraudulent. The investigation is ongoing, and the military will take appropriate action where allegations of criminal conduct are unearthed, said an Army spokesman.