A Senate hearing Tuesday led by Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill concluded that the cost of an Army recruiting scandal could top $100 million.
That’s more than twice the original estimates of the mismanaged program,testimony revealed.
The program paid National Guard members, retirees and civilians to recruit friends and family, but had virtually no safeguards or controls.
The program was established at the height of the Iraq war in 2005 to help the Guard achieve its recruiting goals and was later expanded to the Army Reserve and Regular Army.
“What we're seeing here today is one of the largest criminal investigations in the history of the Army, both by the sheer scale and scope of the fraud,” McCaskill said in a statement.
“The complete lack of controls and safeguards on this program created a culture of permissibility where it didn't take much for thousands of people to figure out that fraud would be easy.
“One of my biggest concerns is holding people accountable, and it breaks my heart to discover that there are criminals who have dishonored the uniform that we are all so proud of. We cannot allow this program to become a stain on the thousands of recruiters and Guard members who serve honorably.
“I intend to ensure the Army is taking every available measure to hold these criminals accountable quickly, so that people can't beat their charges using the statute of limitations.”