Upon completing boot camp, a soldier makes an oath to protect and defend the country. It is called the Oath of Enlistment. Somewhere along the way U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dara Buck forgot that promise and ended up operating a twofold fraud. First, to steal from the U.S. government’s Covid-19 Paycheck Protection Program and then to secure the fraudulent discharge of federal student loans using falsified disability claims for non-veterans. On July 15, 2022, Buck pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.
From August 2017 through May 2021 Buck submitted more than 150 false loan applications to the Small Business Administration for herself and others. With this conspiracy, Buck made more than $3.5 million in fraudulent payments from banks to conspirators. She was then paid by the co-conspirators for her services.
These same co-conspirators also paid her to submit falsified US Department of Veterans Affairs certifications for total and permanent disability to the U.S Department of Education to qualify for Total and Permanent Disability Discharge from loan responsibility. Someone in the office wasn’t fact checking the submitted paperwork because none of the applicants that Buck submitted for were disabled or veterans. Buck secured the discharge of more than a dozen students loans totaling more than $1 million.
Sentencing in this case has yet to be scheduled.
Great job by all in this investigation including U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General; and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Today’s fraud is based on an article posted in the Savannah News on July 16, 2022
Fort Stewart soldier faces 5 years in prison for leading COVID-19 fraud scheme
by: Joseph Leonard
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A Fort Stewart soldier faces up to five years in prison for her involvement in a COVID-19 relief scheme.
Dara Buck, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, according to David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Buck, along with others, illegally obtained millions from COVID-19 relief programs and federal student loan forgiveness, Estes said. If convicted, the U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 will also have to pay financial penalties, restitution and three years of supervised release.