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WASHINGTON — Army criminal investigators are looking into allegations that hundreds of National Guard recruiters and others with ties to the military abused an enlistment referral program established at the height of the Iraq war, officials disclosed Monday, describing a massive racket that appears to have gone undetected for years.
While cases of wartime contracting fraud from Iraq and Afghanistan are legion, the recruitment bonus scandal appears to mark the first instance of systemic fraud by military personnel committed at home.
Army criminal investigators are probing the actions of more than 1,200 individuals who collected suspect payouts totaling more than $29 million, according to officials who were briefed on the preliminary findings of the investigation and would discuss them only on the condition of anonymity.