Four former and current National Guardsmen pleaded guilty in almost a quarter-million dollar scam to defraud the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP) which paid bonuses as enticement to attract folks to enlist according to the Department of Justice;
Melanie D. Moraida, 33, of Pearland, Texas; Kimberly N. Hartgraves, 28, of League City, Texas; Lashae C. Hawkins, 27, of San Antonio; and Vanessa Phillips, 35, of Houston, all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery.
Moraida, Hartgraves, Hawkins and Phillips all admitted that they paid Army National Guard recruiters for the names and Social Security numbers of potential Army National Guard soldiers. They further admitted that they used the personal identifying information for these potential soldiers in claiming that they were responsible for referring the potential soldiers to join the Army National Guard, when in fact they had not referred them.
As a result of these fraudulent representations, Moraida collected approximately $14,500 in fraudulent bonuses; Hartgraves collected approximately $2,000 in fraudulent bonuses; Hawkins collected approximately $33,000 in fraudulent bonuses; and Phillips collected approximately $10,000 in fraudulent bonuses.
The charge of bribery carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss. The charge of conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss.
They are scheduled to be sentenced in December.