LA Times: Thousands of CA soldiers forced to repay bonuses a decade after going to war

Jason Perry

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#2
I strongly suspect that the recoupment under most circumstances is erroneous and may be successfully challenged.
 

danieldresen

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#3
I strongly suspect that the recoupment under most circumstances is erroneous and may be successfully challenged.
The audits started in 2009 starting with officers and senior NCOs... they were arrested or made plea deals to repay most of the erroneously acquired incentives money. In 2011 an Incentives task force began looking at ALL bonuses during this period. Many lower enlisted soldiers have had some relief through leadership (wow... cant believe there is something I can applaud and defend) but sadly many soldiers who I served with will have to repay remaining balances on the debt. The recoupments and reporting are beginning now after their pleas have been exhausted. I personally know who is responsible for the bulk of this fraud and she is in federal prison... and used some funds to purchase houses that she used her work address as fictitious DBA with a fake phone number that routed to Elk Grove Waste Management... my neighbor's house was one such home and it was seized by the federal government and sold at auction for 2800$... when it was bought for 73.5k, illegally obtained through the incentives program... There is so much wrong that this story doesnt cover. MSG Jaffe was using the incentives program to bribe her way to the rank of MSG and guaranteed retirement as she was pending separation for height/weight and APFT failure (I cut the order before I deployed) only to have said separation revoked and her to be "medically retired" at 16 years without an approved LOD... The state surgeon's office STILL has the same individuals who benefited this fraud and screw over soldiers no less... One thing I WILL NOT give credit to guard leadership is allowing that to continue.
 

gsfowler

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#4
There is so much fraud and deception in the CANG. While I was in the CBWTU, I was assigned to sign in with the 40th ID in Los Alamitos daily M-F. I was not even in the guard, but my PSGT with the CBWTU knew a 1SGT there so he thought it would be a safe place for me to hang out for accountability.

One day, I was asked to go get a trash liner from the supply office and I noticed a pallet full of close combat optics (CCO's) and thought to myself, these are going to walk away if they do not get locked up.

Sure enough, one day a few months later the DHS, FBI and OSI showed up, gathered everyone up and began an investigation. They had found out that some Specialist was selling them on eBay so they went to arrest him. Ironically he had also stolen a vehicle from the unit and was using it to flee because someone tipped him off.

Of course, somebody has to be the scapegoat so the recall the Supply Sergeant off of con leave and request to do a complete inventory of the property book. Well, it turns out that there was a change of command just a few months prior, so there was a supposed 100% accountability, however shit for the unit was all over the State.

Rather than admit that the change of command inventory was pencil whipped, they chose to do a statement of charges on the Supply Sergeant and hit him with the entire property book (well over 8 million dollars) which was technically incorrect, because there was a warrant officer who was the property book owner.

Nevertheless I took it upon myself to assist the Supply Sergeant to do a physical location inventory of each and every item that was on the book. We had to take a picture of the item in its location, with the serial number, property book line item number and the description of every single item belonging to the line item.

What I found most ironic about the whole situation was that 1.) they allowed someone who had a statement of charges to self inventory everything that was missing and 2.) the statement of charges even included the friggen computer that was used to write it.

It took about two months to complete the inventory and in the end, the unit had about 20 binders full of photos for every single item they had.
 

danieldresen

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Sounds about right... We had a soldier selling weapons to gangs too. We also had a father/son guard drug smuggling operation and the father was a SGM... both busted! Hell, we had a CSM with... drum roll... 40th ID... the shadiest unit in the WHOLE CAARNG followed closely with 100th TC where this bonus BS happened... The 40th ID CSM and 1SG sent me emails ordering to separate all their AWOL soldiers. 90% of their AWOL soldiers were MND and therefore unable to legally drill and therefore WERE accounted for but they had the audacity to try and order me like a SPC... This was on a Monday... I was a GS-07 so the CSM orders my supervisor to order me... no can do SFC, see the regs... it is ILLEGAL and I WILL NOT comply and WILL REVOKE any illegal order published please contact JAG... that was the first bridge I torched in the building. 3 days later a forum member contacted me about his case... Michael Sternberg. You can imagine how pissed the G1 OIC was when I refused to process his separation based on all the documents received... There is some corrupt shit going on and I couldn't stand it. I know the previous guys running CIF would remove items from a PFC or SPC's turn in to clear officers. They did that to some of my items I shipped for return. Good thing I bought a bunch of military surplus and had it in storage otherwise they would have made me pay... which surprisingly... none of the shit I got from my first deployment ever made it onto a property book... well... if they ever need half of it back... I dyed it black... its been 8 years though and still nothing has come up from Ft. McCoy so I dont think it ever will.
 

pittpan2005

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#6
I am curious what they classify the debt as: (1) an overpayment, (2) a retroactive termination of eligibility, or (3) other.

Avenues of redress should exist: DoD waiver of indebtedness and Department of Treasury hearing requests.

Government agencies are precluded from conferring a benefit not authorized by statute, but it seems here that the debtors are not claiming entitlement to a benefit; rather, a waiver of indebtedness which is not a request to receive a benefit.

At the very least it seems to be administrative error, which is a defense to recoupement of an overpayment.

See OPM v. Richmond, 496 U.S. 414 (1990).
 
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danieldresen

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#7
Different situations. Bonuses from fraud will be C whereas some where eligible but not for the full amount... say... only half. Those would be under 1 or 2 depending on whether the second half was terminated due to separation early or something else.
 

danieldresen

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#9
I know some lower enlisted who received grants to lessen the recoupment. Other than that... it is a pretty shitty situation for them.
 

Jason Perry

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#10
I know some lower enlisted who received grants to lessen the recoupment. Other than that... it is a pretty shitty situation for them.
This is just a guess on my part (but, an educated guess), it seems likely to me that part of the "problem" with this whole issue was that there were folks who engaged in criminal actions and were knowingly culpable. My guess is that this may have "tainted" the initial views of the situation. That is, once someone involved was viewed as criminal, there may have been a rejection of viewing the case as one with deserving Soldiers who were misled or misinformed by leadership and, instead, everyone was looked at as potential wrongdoers. I could also see leadership or others being concerned that by waiving recoupment, it might negatively impact criminal cases.

In any event, seems like a whole lot of hardships and injustices were visited upon blameless and deserving Soldiers. Hope full relief follows.
 

danieldresen

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#11
That is EXACTLY what happened. Many officers and senior enlisted... ie... NCOs... knowingly committed fraud and many were punished with prison and separation. Some only had a slap on the wrist and lost command assignments... yet still somehow ended right back at work in the state headquarters... The whole situation is an outrage because many new enlistees were promised bonuses that were not lawful and were placed in paragraph and line positions so that when the bonus was paid out... it looked kosher in SIDPERS. I had the exact opposite happen to me as my real MOS paragraph and line was being used by the state to cover up this bullcrap so I was denied my second half of my bonus until the investigations started. I am not the only one, but I was the most vocal and happened to get a counseling for using the words, "incompetent fat @$$". Still, I woke up a PFC who was working for her and he investigated the whole matter and saw I was eligible for my bonus. He ended up being one of the NCOs involved with the incentives task force... funny how that worked out. I know where the blame goes and who should pay and who should have leniency with repayment. It sucks but this issue has been going on a while. 2008 at least...
 

TankermanBOOM

Registered Member
#12
From the LA Times:




"Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back...."

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-national-guard-bonus-20161020-snap-story.html
So it isn't enough that servicemen get short changed to begin with, but now they are reneging on bonuses to those that offered to continue to fight....very classy (sarcasm). Honestly if this trend keeps up they are only shooting themselves in the foot for enlistment and retention . I'm all for duty and country but I have mouths to feed . Take care of your soldiers and they in turn will take care of you. Period.
 

danieldresen

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#13
One of the few NEWLY enlisted to have their bonus gone after that I personally know is having some hard times because of the recoupment. His car was repossessed because his AGR pay is being garnished. He is on his second enlistment (no re up bonus). He was only eligible for a 10k bonus but MSG Jaffe got him a 20k bonus. She forged documents and gave fictitious transaction numbers to help recruiters' numbers look good. Between this and the GRAP program there are soooo many scandals within NG recruiting, retention, and separations it isnt funny.
 

chaplaincharlie

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#14
I understand the efforts were suspended, but a case by case review was to occur. Does anyone have SA on how that one on one determination will be made?