After admitting that he conspired to steal about $20,000 in recruiting bonuses, a Louisiana Army National Guardsman from Kenner will serve three years of probation, a federal judge in New Orleans has determined.
Ramon E. Madrid, 30, was facing up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 before U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey sentenced him last week. He had pleaded guilty on Feb. 10 to one count of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds.
According to prosecutors, Madrid on Jan. 31, 2007, created an online account for a now-defunct program known as the Guard Recruiter Assistance Program, or G-RAP, which provided bonuses to National Guard members who recruited potential soldiers.
The program’s purpose was to increase enlistments as the United States fought wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Madrid arranged for program-related bonuses to be deposited directly into his bank account or to prepaid debit cards, prosecutors said.
Although he learned during a training course for the program that he could not receive leads from recruiters or recruiting stations, Madrid admitted he linked up with National Guard recruiter Pablo Paz in April 2007.
Until late October 2011, Paz passed on to Madrid the names, birthdates and Social Security numbers of potential National Guard members who came to the recruiter’s station, prosecutors said.
Madrid in turn entered the potential recruits’ information into his G-RAP account. He also wrote up false information about how, when and where he met the recruits whose data Paz had supplied, prosecutors said.
When interviewed, “most of the recruits Madrid nominated ... stated that they did not know Madrid and did not provide him with their (information),” court documents said.
Madrid gave a cut of the $20,000 he made in this manner to Paz, sometimes paying him with checks, prosecutors said. The amount Madrid paid to Paz through checks was $6,500, writing that the money was for “loan repayment.”
Madrid’s lawyer, Robert Daigre, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
A grand jury indicted Madrid and Paz on Oct. 2.
Paz, 45, of New Orleans, has pleaded guilty to the same crime Madrid did and awaits sentencing tentatively scheduled for June 2.