An Army National Guard program that gave freelance recruiters a bonus for each recruit they referred is under investigation after the reported abuse of $29 million in taxpayer dollars, according to information disclosed at a Senate hearing Tuesday.
The Recruiting Assistance Program, created in 2005 to boost military enrollment and buttress forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, allowed non-recruiters to receive “referral payments” of $2,000 to $7,500 for each new member that they referred.
But by the time the program was shut down in 2012, official recruiters had been giving away information on their own enlistees to Recruiting Assistance Program recruiters, earning them payment in exchange for kickbacks to the officials.
According to the Army’s original audit, 705 recruiters were involved in potentially fraudulent payments to 2,022 recruiter assistants. Those assistants consisted of both soldiers and civilians, including several high school counselors who signed up for referral payment after learning of students’ interest in the military.