Elk Grove Man Sentenced in National Guard Recruiting Fraud Case

May 4, 2016 | An Elk Grove man was sentenced yesterday  to two years and six months in prison for a scheme to fraudulently obtain bo...

May 4, 2016 |

An Elk Grove man was sentenced yesterday to two years and six months in prison for a scheme to fraudulently obtain bonuses in a recruitment program for the California National Guard.

Richard C. Sihner, 54 was convicted on January 22 of of 18 counts of wire fraud relating to his scheme to receive unearned recruiting bonuses relating to California National Guard enlistees. The jury also convicted Sihner of one count of making false statements to a federal agent. 

In sentencing Sihner, United States District Judge John A. Mendez rejected the suggestion that any blame for the crime rested with others involved in the process. “You, and you alone, are responsible,” Judge Mendez said.

Sihner is a retired member of the California National Guard and participated in the Guard Recruiter Assistant Program (G-RAP). The United States Army contracted with Document and Packaging Broker Inc. (DOCUPAK) to administer G-RAP. Under G-RAP, members of the California National Guard served as recruiting assistants (RA). If an RA referred a potential Guard member to a recruiting office and that person ultimately enlisted, the RA was eligible to receive monetary compensation disbursed by DOCUPAK. RAs would typically receive a $1,000 payment when a nominee enlisted and a second $1,000 payment when the nominee left for boot camp. Ultimately, the G-RAP program was discontinued following the discovery of widespread fraud. Recruits who walked into recruiting offices entirely on their own initiative and were not referred by an RA, were claimed by corrupt RAs in DOCUPAK’s system, often with the assistance of corrupt recruiters.
According to evidence produced at trial, from December 27, 2007 to April 16, 2010, Sihner was an RA in the G-RAP program. A recruiter gave him information about new recruits so that Sihner could falsely claim to have referred them. Sihner made false claims and wrote elaborate falsehoods in the notes section of the DOCUPAK online portal indicating that he had referred the recruits. In fact, the recruits had made contact with the Guard to discuss potential enlistment for reasons entirely unrelated to Sihner. Sihner was paid $95,000 in compensation for purportedly referring 51 soldiers to enlist. Of the 39 recruits federal agents contacted prior to indictment, none had been referred to the Guard by Sihner. When confronted, Sihner lied to federal law enforcement agents investigating the fraud by repeatedly claiming that he had personally referred all of the new soldiers and that he had taken them to the recruiting office to introduce them.
“Integrity is a California National Guard core value, and we're committed to holding our soldiers and airmen accountable if they elect to commit fraud,” Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, Adjutant General for the California National Guard said. “These cooperative efforts by the U.S. Attorney's Office continue to help us ensure we remain not only a capable force, but also an ethical force worthy of the people's trust.”

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