Couple was paid for recruiting soldiers, but they committed fraud, jury finds

File photo.
File photo. Fresno Bee

A Fresno couple is facing 20 years in prison for defrauding the California Army National Guard of tens of thousands of dollars.

U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott announced Monday that a federal jury found Jimmy Maldonado, 37, and Mayra Maldonado, 31, guilty of wire fraud in a plot where they illegally obtained payments from a military recruitment program.

According to court documents, Jimmy Maldonado was a former full-time recruiter for the National Guard in the Fresno area and was ineligible to participate in the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program as well as ineligible to receive incentive payments from the program. For each recruit, the recruiter was eligible to get $1,000 and then another $1,000 when the soldier began basic training.

Since he was ineligible to recruit new soldiers or receive payments, for reasons not disclosed in a federal court news release, Jimmy Maldonado provided information about new recruits to his wife. She is a former member of the National Guard and was participating in the recruiting program as an assistant, according to court evidence.

Mayra Maldonado reportedly provided the soldier recruit information to the recruiting program and then collected the payments. But she apparently never met any of the soldiers and had no role in the decision to have them join the National Guard, a news release from the federal court stated.

Mayra Maldonado had been sharing the money from the recruiting program with her husband since he provided her with the soldier information, according to the news release. Each Maldonado is facing a fine of $250,000 for each count of wire fraud aside from their 20-year prison sentences. They are scheduled to be sentenced in federal court April 23.

The case was investigated by military and federal investigation units. According to the news release, six other members of the National Guard have also been charged with similar crimes.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez