Saturday, October 29, 2016
California National Guard bonuses
By Jim Emerson, staff writer
Approximately ten years after the Department of Defense offered hefty bonuses to provide an incentive for soldiers to re-enlist, the Pentagon is now demanding the recipients pay it back. The Los Angeles Times reported that only soldiers in certain jobs--intelligence, civil affairs and some noncommissioned officer posts--were entitled to receive bonuses. Investigators discovered rampart fraud and mismanagement by California National Guard officials who were gaming the system to meet enlistment targets.
California Nation Guard’s incentive manager, retired Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, plead guilty to filing false claims of 15.2 million on behalf of her fellow California National Guard members. From the fall of 2007 to October 2009, MSGT Jaffe filed fictitious claims to pay bonuses to ineligible Guardsmen, helping them to pay loans or reduce the financial burden of families during deployment. She knew they were not eligible to receive enlistment bonuses. In 2002, the retired MSGT was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Three additional officers plead guilty, received probation and were sentenced to pay restitution.
In an effort to recover the money, the Soldier Incentive Assistance Center performed an audit to determine which soldiers were eligible to receive enlistment bonus payments and which were not. Guilty or innocent of fraud didn’t matter in the recovery process; the Pentagon wants it money back. The Center determined of the 11,000 soldiers being audited only 1,100 had received unauthorized payments which must be paid back. An additional 5,400 soldiers were found to have missing paperwork or lack of documentation of eligibility and may have to pay back the money. The auditors, however, confirmed only 300 unauthorized bonus payments to about 2,000 soldiers.
Publicity is the last thing Obama’s Defense Department needed. Once the story became public, political officials began putting pressure on the Pentagon to use its authority to waive repayments. The guardsmen received payment in good faith unaware of any fraud. It is unclear if congress will do anything on this issue since they are on election recess and won’t return till November.
This week, Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to suspend its efforts to collect reimbursement from thousands of California National Guard members who received unauthorized bonuses. Secretary Carter also ordered a team headed by Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Peter Levine to create a process to resolve the situation by no later than July 1, 2017. “Ultimately, we will provide for a process that puts as little burden as possible on any soldier who received an improper payment through no fault of his or her own. At the same time, it will respect our important obligation to the taxpayer.” Since when has the Obama regime concerned itself with obligations to America’s taxpayers! How much taxpayer money has Moochelle spent on lavish vacations? How much has been paid out to illegal aliens?
People who believed they were entitled to receive bonus payments are now being hurt by a process which they had no idea was fraudulent.
The American Public will be watching.