Ex-soldier pleads guilty in Texas recruiting scam

February 3, 2012 10:07:33 AM PST
A former soldier in South Texas has pleaded guilty in a scheme to collect part of $244,000 in bonuses for referring recruits.

The Justice Department says former Spc. Xavier Aves of San Antonio pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to aggravated identity theft.

Aves faces sentencing May 25 in San Antonio. The maximum penalty for the conspiracy charge is five years in prison, plus two years for aggravated ID theft.

Recruiting incentives offer soldiers up to $2,000 for referrals who enlist.

Investigators say bonuses were paid to some soldiers who obtained personal information about people planning to join the military, then falsely claimed to have recruited the individuals.

Aves, who received about $69,000 in fraudulent bonuses, is the fifth person to plead guilty.