Pentagon forces thousands of Calif. soldiers to repay enlistment bonuses

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SACRAMENTO – A decade ago, the California National Guard offered soldiers bonuses worth $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, soldiers are being ordered to repay it, the Los Angeles Times reported.

An audit revealed that at the height of the wars, there were widespread overpayments by the California Guard, Los Angeles Times reported.  

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

The Pentagon intended to offer incentives to retain high-demand assignments, including intelligence and civil affairs officers, in the mid-2000s. The California Guard handed out money “far more liberally” than the other states, according to the audit.

“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,” the LA Times reported.

If the 10,000 soldiers, who were ordered to repay enlistment bonuses, refuse they’ll be charged interest, wage garnishments and get tax liens, the newspaper reported.

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