Soldier pleads guilty to scamming referral bonus

US Department of Justice

HOUSTON (KXAN) — A soldier in the Texas Army National Guard pleaded guilty on Monday on charges of conspiracy, bribery and identity theft.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Sergeant First Class Zaunmine Duncan, 38, formerly of Austin, was involved in a corruption scheme to illegally receive recruiting bonuses.

Duncan admitted that between February 2008 and August 2010, while he was a recruiter for the National Guard, he would get names and Social Security numbers of potential soldiers and provided them to recruiting assistants, including co-conspirators Elisha Ceja, Annika Chambers, Kimberly Hartgraves and Lashae Hawkins, so that these recruiting assistants could use the information to obtain fraudulent recruiting bonuses by falsely claiming that they were responsible for referring these potential soldiers to join the Army National Guard, when they were not.

In exchange for the information, Duncan said he personally received nearly $25,000 in payments from Ceja, Chambers, Hartgraves and Hawkins.

Duncan is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 28, before U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal in Houston.

To date, the investigation has led to charges against 25 individuals, 23 of whom have pleaded guilty.

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