Quantcast
Connect with us

New York National Guard members busted for recruiting bonus scam

Published

on

Seven New York Army National Guard members were arrested on Wednesday on charges they schemed to fraudulently obtain thousands of dollars in referral bonuses for recruiting dozens of new soldiers.

Married recruiters Darryl Harrison and Evette Merced provided potential soldiers’ personal information to four National Guard members who then falsely claimed referral bonuses on the recruits, according to a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.

ADVERTISEMENT

Staff Sergeants Siul Celeste and Jeanette Arizaga and Sergeants Yesenia Adames and Renetta Edwards then kicked back thousands of dollars to Harrison and Merced, who as recruiters were not allowed to seek the bonuses, the complaint said.

Celeste, Arizaga, Adames and Edwards received bonuses totaling $111,000 for recruiting 60 soldiers, 47 of whom said they were not referred to the National Guard by them, the complaint said.

Another sergeant, Jefferson Simbanamuzo, who was also a member of the New York City Police Department, likewise fraudulently received $10,500 in referral bonuses for claiming to have recruited six soldiers, the complaint said.

Simbanamuzo told investigators he obtained information on potential soldiers from recruiters who he had previously assisted in the National Guard’s Bronx office, the complaint said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Those who join the National Guard nobly serve their fellow citizens,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “But as alleged, these defendants used their positions in the National Guard to steal.”

Merced, a 45-year-old staff sergeant, and Harrison, a 51-year-old sergeant first class, were arrested on Wednesday in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, where they live, prosecutors said.

Adames, 43, was arrested in Virginia, while Celeste, 29, Arizaga, 41, Edwards, 40, and Simbanamuzo, 41, were arrested in New York.

ADVERTISEMENT

Colonel Richard Goldenberg, a New York National Guard spokesman, said the investigation stemmed from allegations discovered during a routine U.S. Army audit. The New York National Guard cooperated in the probe, he said.

Merced and Harrison face four counts each of conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation and receipt of bribes, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft.

Celeste, Arizaga, Adames and Edwards face two counts each of conspiracy to commit bribery and theft of government funds. Simbanamuzo faces one count of theft of government funds.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lawyers for the defendants declined comment or did not respond to requests for comment. All of the defendants were released on bail on Wednesday except Adames, who will appear in court in Virginia on Thursday.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Andrew Hay)

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Trump campaign mocked after unveiling new red hats: ‘Do you have arm bands as well?’

Published

on

President Donald Trump's 2016 "Make America Great Again" hats have been replaced with new "Keep America Great" hats.

Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale modeled one of the hats on Twitter.

Here is some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/LazarusLeBaron/status/1165430924093165568

Here I made an arm band design for you pic.twitter.com/inTyqVi2wo

— Christopher Goodwin (@LazarusLeBaron) August 25, 2019

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘This will not end well’: Far-right extremism expert warns of Trump’s intensifying authoritarianism

Published

on

An expert on the far-right in America warned of President Donald Trump's "genuinely dangerous levels" of authoritarianism on Saturday.

Author David Neiwert posted a long Twitter thread on the commander-in-chief's "Social Dominance Orientation" -- and warned it will not end well.

Neiwert is the author of the 2017 book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Here is the thread he posted:

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428067138846720

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428524808724480

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165429018486702081

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

‘The Mooch’ attended Biden fundraiser in the Hamptons — because Trump ‘has lost his mind’

Published

on

Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci attended a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday.

CBS News reporter Ben Mitchell posted a photo of Scaramucci at the event, and subsequently interviewed "The Mooch."

Scaramucci said he was still a registered Republican, but added that Trump "has lost his mind."

Spotted at a Biden event in the Hamptons: Fmr. Trump WH Comms Director Anthony @Scaramucci pic.twitter.com/PWVTZ8Qm15

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
HELP US UNCOVER CORRUPTION!
close-link
close-image