A former National Guard recruiting assistant is being sued by the U.S. government for allegedly defrauding the Army National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program of $7,000 by falsely claiming to have nominated four potential soldiers.
The U.S. government, through assistant U.S. Attorney Mikel W. Schwab, alleges that Rota resident Ana Maria A. Mendiola received a total of $7,000 for the four fraudulently claimed potential soldiers.
The U.S. government is suing Mendiola for four counts of violation of the False Claims Act, one count of unjust enrichment, and one count of payment by mistake.
The U.S. District Court for the NMI was asked to hold Mendiola liable to pay the U.S. government $21,000 in damages, as well as penalties and court costs.
The Army National Guard ran the Army National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program, or G-RAP, from 2005 to 2012, where members of the Army National Guard or affiliated civilians could apply to become a recruiting assistant—an independent contractor position. RAs generally earns up to $2,000 for each recruit he or she enlists in the National Guard. Once the applicant completes an enlistment or re-enlistment contract, the RA generally receives an initial amount of $1,000. When the recruit reports to basic training, the RA generally receives another $1,000.
According to the complaint, the Army Criminal Investigations Division notified the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Districts of Guam and the NMI on June 3, 2015, that Mendiola is being investigated on suspicion of defrauding G-RAP.
The division determined that on Jan. 28, 2009, Mendiola created an online profile with Document and Packaging Brokers Inc., or Docupak, to register as an RA.
Schwab said that over a two-year period, Mendiola nominated six potential soldiers, of which at least four of those she fraudulently nominated.
Schwab said interviews with potential soldiers revealed that some had never heard of Mendiola, communicated with her, or gave her their personally identifiable information, or PII, needed for the G-RAP recruitments.
Schwab said that Mendiola, who allegedly obtained the PII in a way that she has yet to disclose, used the PII to fill out the online nomination to claim that she was eligible to obtain a recruitment fee.
Last October, the federal court handed down a sentence of two years and four months in prison against Jordan M. Jucutan, a former U.S. Army Reserve member who was convicted of engaging in a scheme to defraud and to obtain money by falsely claiming he referred soldiers to the Army Reserves.