Crime & Justice

Calif. Marine reservists charged in travel scam

Photo illustration
Photo illustration
The.Comedian/ flickr Creative Commons

Authorities say more than two dozen Marine Corps reservists in Southern California have been charged in a scheme of submitting fake travel vouchers that totaled more than $870,000.

The Internal Revenue Service said in a news release Monday that seven reservists were indicted in September on charges of conspiring to defraud the government. If convicted, each faces up to 10 years in prison.

Authorities say military administrative officer Bladimir Flores prepared and submitted phony travel vouchers for those on active duty. Investigators say Flores shared nearly $225,000 in kickbacks in return for sending the false expense forms for travel not actually taken or for which the reservists weren't qualified. They say Flores is a fugitive.

Twenty-one reservists have pleaded guilty or have agreed to plead guilty to tax-related charges.