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Discharged Colorado National Guardsman Sentenced For Fraudulent Recruiting Bonuses

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DENVER (CBS4)- A discharged Colorado National Guardsman was sentenced Thursday in federal court. Thurman Foster is one of hundreds across the nation accused of fraudulently obtaining recruiting bonuses.

Foster pleaded guilty to charges that he stole tens of thousands of dollars from the Army by getting information from a recruiter who wanted to help him by steering him to bonus money.

At his sentencing hearing Foster said he did not realize bonus money he received for people he didn’t help enlist was wrong.

Federal prosecutors said the information to get the bonuses came from a recruiter who cooperated with the government.

National Guard units across the country were struggling to meet recruiting quotas during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so the Army set up a bonus program for soldiers to refer friends and family to enlist. However, not all the bonuses ended up where they were supposed to go.

Last month a United States Senate subcommittee learned that $29 million in bad bonuses were paid out.

Foster was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay back the $31,000 in restitution.

Foster is one of four in Colorado charged with receiving bonuses they didn’t deserve.

Attorney Greg Graf represents Colorado National Guard Sgt. Luke Peelgrane.

When asked if his client received bonuses he shouldn’t have, Graf replied, “Absolutely not.”

Graf showed CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger documents he claims show details of contact with those enlistees that he received bonuses for.

“Well, it’s really a slap in the face. Luke Peelgrane is a hero. This kid has served in Iraq, Afghanistan with the Special Forces,” said Graf.

Graf said the Adams County charges should be dismissed because they are beyond the statute of limitations and do not involve Adams County where they were filed.

The National Guard is aware of the impact of these cases.

“We don’t want to misplace the trust placed in us by the citizens of Colorado,” said Colorado National Guard Command Sgt. Major Rob Lawrence.

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