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Phony Army Recruitment|Ring Rolled Up

SAN ANTONIO (CN) - A former Army sergeant who worked as a military recruiter pleaded guilty to conspiring to get more than $200,000 in fraudulent recruiting bonuses, federal prosecutors said.

Former Staff Sgt. Grant E. Bibb, 40, of Eagle Pass, was one of six soldiers, all Texans, who were indicted in September 2011. Bibb admitted this will that for 2½ years he participated in a scheme to get fraudulent recruiting bonuses, and that he paid active-duty recruiters and another person for the names and Social Security numbers of potential soldiers.

He faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

"Bibb also admitted that he used this information to claim that he was responsible for referring certain potential soldiers to join the military, when in fact he did not refer them to join," prosecutors said in a statement. "As a result of his fraudulent representations, Bibb personally received a total of approximately $35,000 in fraudulent recruiting bonuses. In addition, Bibb admitted that he and certain active duty recruiters helped U.S. soldiers establish online accounts to enable the soldiers to participate in the fraudulent bonus scheme."

Bibb served in the Army National Guard from January 2003 until July 2007, in the Army Reserves from October 2007 until November 2010, and worked as a contract military recruiter from December 2007 until April 2009.

Soldiers could get up to $2,000 in bonuses for each person he recruited. Bibb admitted that he and his co-conspirators got about $205,000 in fraudulent recruiting bonuses.

Seven people have been charged in the wide-ranging scheme, and four have pleaded guilty.

Indicted with Bibb were former Specialist Xavier Aves, 40, of San Antonio; former Cpl. Christopher Castro, 30, of San Antonio; Sgt. First Class Jesus Torres-Alvarez, 31, of El Paso; Specialist Paul Escobar, 31, of San Antonio; and Specialist Richard Garcia Jr., 28, of San Antonio.

Sgt. Ernest Gonzales, 50, of San Antonio, pleaded guilty in 2010 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He awaits sentencing.

Former Cpl. Castro pleaded guilty to the same charge in November 2011, and former Sgt. Torres Alvarez pleaded guilty in January. They too awaits sentencing.

The case against Bibb's co-defendants Aves, Escobar and Garcia is scheduled for trial on April 23.

Bibb is to be sentenced on May 25.

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