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National Guard recruiting bonus scandal probed by Senate panel

National Guard recruiting bonus scandal probed by Senate panel
Outside a recruiting center in Los Angeles. The Army is investigating an National Guard recruiting scandal allegedly involving hundreds of Guard recuiters and soldiers. (Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times)

Hundreds of National Guard recruiters and soldiers are under investigation for illegally taking more $29 million in bonuses for signing up recruits at the height of the Iraq war.

Army investigators say that an outside contractor paid $700 to $1,200 bonuses even when the recipients had no role in signing up recruits.

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The Army shut down the program in 2012.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), whose subcommittee is holding a hearing on the case Tuesday, called it "one of the biggest fraud investigations in Army history."

Though Guard recruiters were barred from receiving bonuses, they allegedly often conspired with Guard soldiers and others, known as "recruiter assistants," to share bonuses for new recruits.

Of 851 recruiter assistants under investigation, 139 are in California, more than any other state.

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Twitter: @davidcloudLAT

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