It's been deemed one of the biggest criminal investigations in Army history after an Army audit uncovered a multimillion-dollar recruiting scheme. 'CBS This Morning' explains: 'A senate hearing is just getting underway focusing on alleged fraud in National Guard recruiting. Hundreds of soldiers are under investigation.'
They're accused of taking advantage of bonuses and kickbacks.
In 2005, the National Guard launched the Recruiting Assistance Program, with which Army personnel earned between $2,000 and $7,500 for each person recruited. The Washington Post reports money was deposited directly into the soldiers' bank accounts.
'The bonuses helped the Army meet its recruitment goals during a crucial period, paying out more than $300 million for roughly 130,000 enlistees.'
Then, a 2012 army audit found evidence of potential fraud. USA Today obtained the documents.
'More than 800 soldiers are under criminal investigation for gaming a National Guard program that paid hundreds of millions in bonuses to soldiers who persuaded friends to sign up during the darkest years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.'
Formal Army recruiters were not allowed to participate in the Recruiting Assistance Program, but Al Jazeera explains that some played the system when recruits came into the office to enlist on their own.
'These recruiters would go to a third party, say 'hey, look, tell somebody that this was your friend, that this was an an individual that you asked to come in to the recruiting office and enlist in the army,' and then they would split it. It was essentially a kickback,' Al Jazeera America reported.
Senator Claire McCaskill told CBS that the fraudulent earnings could total as much as $300 million. The Senate held a hearing Tuesday to discuss the case. According to a report from KUSA, the investigation could take until 2016.