THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Three members of the Colorado National Guard are accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a National Guard recruiting bonus program.
They face charges of fraudulently obtaining personal information of enlistees from a Thornton office and then putting in for referral bonuses they didn’t deserve.
They received $1,000 for every soldier who signed up for the National Guard and then another $1,000 once they were shipped to basic combat training. The money was paid through an independent contractor to the Army.
All three suspects are Guardsmen, but not recruiters.
The Adams County District Attorney’s office filed charges against Jerry Gerome Wilson, 38, and Luke Quinn Peelgrane, 29, on Monday. Wilson is accused of receiving $43,000 in bonuses for individuals he didn’t help recruit. Peelgrane is accused of taking $25,000.
Christopher Thomas Clark, 25, is also accused of receiving $28,000 in bonuses and was charged at an earlier date. He is free on bond and is due to appear in court on Feb. 18.
The bonus program was started as the Army struggled to meet recruiting quotas for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has since been discontinued under allegations of pervasive fraud.
Wilson, Peelgrane and Clark were allegedly getting money through a program run by Docupak, a contractor that doesn’t operate in an official National Guard capacity.
“I think any taxpayer would be concerned with that, when our tax dollars go to crimes and someone has an opportunity to commit crimes, especially individuals who work for the federal government,” Adams County District Attorney Dave Young told CBS4.
Young said the case is part of a much larger probe by the Army’s criminal investigation division.
“There’s a nationwide investigation going on into recruiting practices of not only the National Guard but various Army recruiting facilities,” said Young.
Major Gen. Michael Edwards, the head of Colorado National Guard, said if the allegations are true it is unacceptable behavior.
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