A former Army National guard recruiter has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison for being the brains behind a complicated conspiracy to rip off the federal government through the use of phony recruits, 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports from federal court.


  Xavier Aves, 42, of San Antonio a former Specialist in the Army National Guard, was sentenced to serve 57 months in prison, and he must help repay the $244,000 he and other recruiters stole from taxpayers.


  Aves and ten other recruiters were charged with crimes ranging from theft to conspiracy in connection with the complicated scheme.


  Prosecutors say at the height of the economic boom of 2005, the Army agreed to set up a bonus program to offer monetary incentives to soldiers who referred others to serve in the U.S. military.


   Aves and other recruiters paid other recruiters for the names and social security numbers of individuals who had entered the recruitment office voluntarily without referral.  They then claimed that they had referred these individuals and collected $2,000 for every recruit.


  The feds say Aves was the 'key intermediary' between the recruiters and the participating recruiting assistants.