The United States Army announced today it has begun a process to correct errors concerning the previous submission of names to the national criminal database as part of its investigation of the National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP) and Army Reserve Recruiting Assistance Program (AR-RAP) conducted from 2012 to 2016. Individuals erroneously indexed in the database will have their names removed and receive notification of the action. Additionally, they will be informed of actions they can take should they believe they were harmed by being indexed.
Earlier this summer, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) initiated a review of approximately 1,900 individuals who had been investigated for their involvement in a recruiting assistance program alleged to have been susceptible to fraud by participants. During these law enforcement investigations, a number of individuals were indexed in the FBI Interstate Identification Index (III) without meeting the appropriate criteria to warrant their inclusion. The FBI’s III is used to record criminal histories in an effort to better share information between state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Indexing in the FBI’s III database can affect individuals in several ways, to include potentially limiting civilian employment opportunities, where a criminal background check would reveal their involvement as a subject in a law enforcement investigation.
CID found individuals may have been improperly indexed in more than half of the investigations they reviewed, which led to today’s public announcement. While CID’s initial review is focused on about 1,900 individuals, they expect that number may grow.
“Simply put, proper procedures were not always followed,” said CID Director Greg Ford. “We acknowledge those mistakes and are taking action to correct these records.”
“After receiving requests to review specific case files, CID identified the need to conduct a complete review of a number of cases which may have been improperly indexed,” continued Ford, who ordered the review and pledged CID would be transparent during the process.
Additionally, a number of individuals were “titled” as part of the investigation. Titling is an administrative process that does not imply any level of guilt or innocence. An individual is titled when there is credible information they committed a criminal offense, and they are identified by law enforcement as the primary suspect in the investigation. However, it is not the equivalent of being charged with a crime. The CID review of titling actions will determine if the appropriate decisions were made to title affected individuals. If CID is unable to establish in accordance with the appropriate standard that titling is warranted, the individual’s titling record will be expunged from Department of Defense records.
The Army’s Crime Records Center will amend the law enforcement records and reports pursuant to applicable laws and regulations, to include removal from relevant databases as warranted. CID expects its review to be complete and notifications sent by the end of this year, and they will confirm affected individuals have been removed from those databases prior to notification. Affected individuals will be notified by CID of the results of their case review and be offered contact information for an Army support agency standing by to assist them. Adjudication of any requests may take until spring 2024.
The Army will also conduct a comprehensive review of its procedures, as well as training processes and policies, to ensure that titling and indexing of individuals associated with future investigations are handled consistent with applicable laws and regulations. That effort is expected to be completed within 90 days.
In addition to the cases the Army has already started reviewing, the service established a website where people can get additional information. For those who believe they may have been improperly indexed or titled, they may go to https://www.cid.army.mil/crc.html to learn if their case is part of this review, or to request a review. The Army said a response can be expected within 10 business days.
Between 2005 and 2012, the National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP) and Army Reserve Recruiting Assistance Program (AR-RAP) offered $2,000 bonuses to individuals whose referrals to Army recruiters resulted in an enlistment. In 2012 the U.S. Army Audit Agency’s fraud-risk assessment identified systemic weaknesses in these contractor-run programs, including weak internal controls, insufficient contract oversight, and fraud and abuse at recruiter level and below.
At that time, the Army stood up a special task force at CID to investigate tens of thousands of bonus payments. Although the investigation was hampered by the RAP programs’ poor internal auditing capabilities, it resulted in adverse administrative action against 286 individuals and the prosecution of 137 individuals by civilian courts. For the hundreds of cases without disposition, CID directed this internal review.
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