Lakeland, FL -- A former Army staff sergeant and recruiter pleaded guilty today to stealing public money after he created false accounts to deposit payments from a Guard Recruiter Assistance Program (GRAP) into his personal account.
37-year-old Christopher James Myers of Lakeland now faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison, and will have to forfeit over $32,000 to the United States.
According to court documents, Myers worked as a staff sergeant and recruiter with Florida Army National Guard when he used the names of other National Guard members - without their consent- to create fraudulent GRAP accounts between 2008 and 2010.
What is GRAP? Reports say the program was created to serve as an incentive for soldiers to sign up as recruiter assistants. Once enrolled, they would promote the benefits of service and recruit potential soldiers and officers in exchange for cash.
Recruiter Assistants would receive a $1,000 payment for getting a "nominee" to enlist. If the "nominee" was a prior enlisted military member, their payment would double- $2,000. Then, if the new recruit completed basic training, the Recruiter Assistant would receive an additional $1,000.
Court documents say the National Guard did not allow actual recruiters, like Myers, to benefit from this program because he already received a government salary for his recruitment efforts.
Myers created the Recruitment Assistant accounts in the names of others anyway and reportedly took the Recruitment Assistant payments from each of the accounts, and transferred them into his personal account.
Officials say a sentencing date has not been set yet.