Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Current and ex-Utah Guard members face criminal charges
Courts » They allegedly scammed bonus program for attracting recruits, indictments say.
First Published Aug 15 2014 12:47 pm • Last Updated Aug 16 2014 11:13 pm

Four current or former Utah National Guard members are facing criminal charges alleging they scammed or helped defraud a recruiting incentive program by falsely claiming they were responsible for bringing in new recruits.

The four were charged with exploiting a program in which Guard members signed up as "recruiting assistants" and then could earn $2,000 for attracting new members.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The Guard Recruiter Assistance Program was scuttled in 2012 by Army Secretary John McHugh after an audit found that more than a quarter of the $339 million paid out was "at risk for fraud," according to the Washington Post.

Indicted this week in U.S. District Court for Utah were Maj. Marc Lessor Cooper, Jesse Lee Howell and James Keith Summer. A fourth man, Darron Terry Smith, was indicted in July.

"If the allegations of these indictments are proven true, it is behavior not consistent with the professionalism and integrity of the Utah National Guard or its members," said Lt. Col. Steven Fairbourn, spokesman for the Utah Guard. "Integrity is one of our Core Army Values and we take violations of our standards seriously."

According to the charges, Cooper, Howell and Smith used personal information from new recruits to claim signing bonuses.

Because Cooper is an active duty officer in the Guard, he was not eligible to receive the bonuses. But Cooper allegedly enrolled and submitted information on at least seven recruits even though he had no role in their signing, according to the charges.

He received at least $14,000, the indictment says, and faces one charge each of wire fraud and theft of government property.

Howell allegedly obtained personal information on recruits from Summers, a full-time recruiter not eligible to receive bonuses. Howell used the information to obtain bonuses and allegedly paid Summers for the information, according to the indictment.

Howell also helped two others set up accounts to obtain bonuses and then supplied the information to obtain them, the indictment says.

story continues below
story continues below

Howell’s account and the related ones took in $22,000, the charges claim. He faces 10 charges of wire fraud, theft of government property and aiding and abetting the theft of government property. Summers faces seven counts of wire fraud and aiding and abetting the theft of government property.

Howell and Summers were discharged from the Guard in 2010 after an investigation into their activities, according to Fairbourn. The Guard also is investigating Cooper, he said.

Smith, now a professor at the University of Tennessee, faces eight counts of wire fraud and theft of government property. He allegedly received $28,000 by submitting false information about recruits.

Cooper, Howell and Summers could not be contacted for comment, while Smith did not reply to an email.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.