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National Guard Recruiter Indicted

An Army National Guard soldier from Fountain has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on 16 counts of taking bonuses for recruitments that did not exist.

Staff Sgt. Thurman L. Foster, 43, was indicted June 4 and ordered to appear June 26 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya, according to a Friday press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Thurman works as a firefighter for the 1157th Engineer Company, according to Capt. Darin Overstreet, a spokesman for the Colorado National Guard. Foster allegedly collected $22,000 in referral bonuses for new recruits whom he did not recruit.

Foster was a recruiter assistant with the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program, which offers up to $2,000 for each new recruit who signs up and completes basic training.

Because of similar issues throughout the nation, the program has been canceled, said Major General H. Michael Edwards, the adjutant general of Colorado and commander of the Colorado National Guard, in the press release.

"This activity is totally contrary to the values and culture of the Colorado National Guard and will not be tolerated," he said. "This should serve as an example for those who would abuse public trust."

The program was shut down over a year ago, according to Overstreet.

It was intended to provide the Guard with "contacts that other recruiters wouldn't necessarily have easy access to," he said.

"Most of our Guard members are civilians most of month," he said. "They may have friends they work with who have skill sets that are benefit to the Guard.

"It was largely a very successful program. But it was an easily corruptible program as well."

The program operated on the honor system, though referrals were randomly audited, Overstreet said.

If convicted, Foster may face a dishonorable discharge. Because he has not been arrested, he is still obligated to report to duty.

The case was investigated by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Martha A. Paluch.

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