A retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general was sentenced last week to 12 months and one day in prison for wire fraud and filing a false tax return, the Justice Department announced.
Scott Bethel, 59, worked as a government contractor and advisor to the service following his retirement in 2012, according to the statement. During that time, Bethel launched a business that worked with both the government and his employer, both of which he would reportedly submit invoices to, according to court documents.
“Bethel’s fraudulent actions, which included fabricating invoices, claiming false deductions, and attempting to enlist others in his criminal activities, not only tarnished his distinguished career but also undermine the very foundations of our tax and government systems,” Ramsey E. Covington, a special agent in charge at the IRS Criminal Investigation’s Houston Field Office, said in the release.
“[T]he sentencing of retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Scott Allen Bethel serves as a reminder that those in positions of authority and trust are expected to uphold higher standards of integrity and accountability,” he added.
Bethel’s lawyer declined to comment.
Over the course of Bethel’s scheme, he reportedly received approximately $15,000 from the Air Force to which he was not entitled. He also falsified charitable deductions and business expenses from 2015 to 2019, totaling $139,687 in government tax loss, according to the statement.
In addition to time served, Bethel was ordered to pay nearly $155,000 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Harris and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Porier prosecuted the case.
Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.