Crime - Sacto 911

Paradise man arraigned in National Guard recruiting-fraud case

A Paradise man was arraigned Monday in federal court in Sacramento in connection with an ongoing investigation into National Guard recruiting fraud.

Steel A. Davis, 42, pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud in a scheme to obtain bonuses for purportedly referring individuals to enlist in the California National Guard, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

Court documents show that the United States Army contracted with a company called Document Packaging Broker Inc. to administer the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program. Under the program, California National Guard members served as recruiting assistants. If a recruiting assistant referred a potential National Guard member to a recruiting office and that person ultimately enlisted, the recruiting assistant was eligible for monetary compensation disbursed by the firm.

According to the indictment, Davis, who was a recruiter with the California National Guard at the time, allegedly gave recruits’ information to recruiting assistants, who would then file false claims with the company indicating that they had referred recruits, when, in fact, the recruits had joined the National Guard on their own initiative. When the compensation was received, Davis allegedly split the proceeds with the recruiting assistants.

In May 2014, eight other National Guard soldiers were indicted in Sacramento and Fresno. Two of the defendants have pleaded guilty, authorities said. The remaining cases are pending.

The cases are the result of an ongoing investigation by the Army Criminal Investigative Command Major Procurement Fraud Unit, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.