Richard Sihner was one of eight current and former California National Guard members indicted Thursday in a recruitment fraud case.
“I wasn’t in it for the pay,” Sihner told FOX40. “I was in it for the bettering of the soldiers.”
But the U.S. Department of Justice sees it differently. They say Sihner and others scammed the system for more recruitment bonuses. National Guard recruiting assistants get money for each referral of theirs that actually enlists.
“I never gave any of the money I made to recruiters and split special deals,” Sihner said.
Investigators say the guardsmen indicted used information from people who enlisted on their own to take credit. Sihner is accused of making the most of the eight – $95,000.
But Sihner maintains his innocence, saying he’s received awards and is still active with military families.
“The part that is going to be bad, I don’t get to be Santa anymore,” he said. Instead, he fears he’ll spend future Christmases in prison.