Visitors Now:
Total Visits:
Total Stories:
Profile image
By RedState (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Now:
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:
Total:

Pentagon Forcing Soldiers to Repay Ten Year Old Reenlistment Bonuses

Saturday, October 22, 2016 10:46
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

This is the kind of story that makes your blood boil. In California, thousands of soldiers who reenlisted during wartime to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan were given reenlistment bonuses for doing so. The bonuses were a financial lifeline for a lot of soldiers and for some they must have been a deciding factor in their decision to reenlist and go back to the warzone. These men and women kept their end of the bargain and put their lives at risk but now the government is reneging because of its own error. Now soldiers face wage garnishment, interest charges, and tax liens for accepting money offered to them by the military.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.

But soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept bonuses offered when the Pentagon needed to fill the ranks.

“These bonuses were used to keep people in,” said Christopher Van Meter, a 42-year-old former Army captain and Iraq veteran from Manteca, Calif., who says he refinanced his home mortgage to repay $25,000 in reenlistment bonuses and $21,000 in student loan repayments that the Army says he should not have received. “People like me just got screwed.”

In Iraq, Van Meter was thrown from an armored vehicle turret — and later awarded a Purple Heart for his combat injuries — after the vehicle detonated a buried roadside bomb.

Military personnel probably know better than most that crap rolls downhill, but this is truly outrageous. People like Van Meter are being punished because representatives of the government were guilty of mismanagement and fraud.

Susan Haley, a Los Angeles native and former Army master sergeant who deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, said she sends the Pentagon $650 a month — a quarter of her family’s income — to pay down $20,500 in bonuses that the Guard says were given to her improperly.

“I feel totally betrayed,” said Haley, 47, who served 26 years in the Army along with her husband and oldest son, a medic who lost a leg in combat in Afghanistan.

Haley, who now lives in Kempner, Texas, worries they may have to sell their house to repay the bonuses. “They’ll get their money, but I want those years back,” she said, referring to her six-year reenlistment.

The Deputy Commander of the California National Guard, Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers says, “We’d be more than happy to absolve these people of their debts. We just can’t do it. We’d be breaking the law.”

Are they really “their debts” though? These men and women are victims of fraud committed by the government, yet they are being held accountable for making the government whole. That’s insane. Why not cancel a couple of presidential vacations and call it even?

In 2010, after reports surfaced of improper payments, a federal investigation found that thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were given to California Guard soldiers who did not qualify for them, or were approved despite paperwork errors.

Army Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, the California Guard’s incentive manager, pleaded guilty in 2011 to filing false claims of $15.2 million and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Three officers also pleaded guilty to fraud and were put on probation after paying restitution.

No one can drag out the legal process quite like the government. Many of these soldiers get worn down trying to fight it and eventually give in, placing themselves and their families in financial hardship. They fought America’s enemies abroad and returned home to fight a losing battle against the government. It’s shameful.

The post Pentagon Forcing Soldiers to Repay Ten Year Old Reenlistment Bonuses appeared first on RedState.

Report abuse

Comments

Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Total 2 comments
  • MEANWHILE the FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS IS STILL UNACCOUNTED FOR AT THE PENTAGON! But who cares about a measly 5 trillion when you can screw over “by fraud” the military men/women who didn’t do a damn thing wrong but accept what was offered!

  • Something is going on at BIN. The man who started the Firefox browser and was run off by, the fags that be, has a new browser http://www.brave.com. I have a page in Brave from BIN now, that I can’t even pull up in Firefags. This be BillyP. Don’t get it twisted.

Top Stories
Recent Stories

Register

Newsletter

Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.