Soldier, Federal Fraud Investigator, Indicted for Bilking the Pentagon

The Pentagon

A federal grand jury has indicted a US Department of Labor anti-racketeering agent and New Jersey Army National Guard soldier for allegedly bilking the Pentagon, his wife, and an insurance company out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. New Jersey Army National Guard photo by Jacqueline Robinson.

A federal agent who also served in the National Guard defrauded the Pentagon, his wife, and USAA Insurance out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the latest grand jury indictments against him.

The suspended US Department of Labor investigator — Thomas Hartley, 48, of Henryville, Pennsylvania — faces federal charges for allegedly bilking the US Army out of $23,580 in housing allowance funds; stealing $60,284 in unemployment benefits; illegally taking $127,000 from a military Thrift Savings Plan he kept with his wife; and wrongfully collecting nearly $50,000 in wage compensation from the insurance company.

It adds up to 18 felony counts and includes charges for theft of government funds, wire and mail fraud, and providing false statements, according to US Attorney Gerard M. Karam in Scranton, where Hartley’s cases have been consolidated.

A single fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.

Attempts by Coffee or Die Magazine to reach Hartley weren’t successful. Neither he nor his court-appointed attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey responded to requests for comment.

The Pentagon

Over the six-month span that ended on March 31, 2022, agents assigned to the US Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General helped bring about 314 criminal indictments and 187 convictions, according to the agency’s latest report to Congress. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

The superseding indictments, filed Tuesday, Aug. 16, in Scranton, are the latest legal woes for Hartley in a probe that dates back to 2018, when he served as both a soldier in the New Jersey Army National Guard and as a special agent assigned to the US Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, where he was supposed to tackle racketeering, organized crime, and fraud.

In Hartley’s first indictment, prosecutors said he’d been on leave from his civilian job for active duty with the Guard when he filed a Form 5960 for Basic Allowance for Quarters, funds designed to offset the housing costs of service members and their families.

Hartley allegedly claimed his dependents lived in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, when in fact they resided in Henryville, Pennsylvania. The ploy paid him $1,503 extra every month for nearly two years.

The second indictment is much messier.

The Pentagon

Over the six-month span that ended on March 31, 2022, agents assigned to the US Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General helped bring about 314 criminal indictments and 187 convictions, according to the agency’s latest report to Congress. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Prosecutors now accuse Hartley of fraudulently applying for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania while he was on full-time active duty with the New Jersey Army National Guard.

They also said he’d defrauded the Thrift Savings Plan program by claiming he was single when he was, in fact, married. He’s accused of transferring funds from the retirement plan to a bank account solely in his name, without his spouse’s consent.

And after Hartley was involved in an automobile accident, he allegedly filed a lost wage claim with USAA, when he’d really lost income because he’d been suspended as a federal agent while the criminal investigation played out.

According to the US Department of Justice, Hartley’s criminal investigations have been conducted by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Special Investigations, the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, and USAA Insurance’s Special Investigations Unit.

The Pentagon

Over the six-month span that ended on March 31, 2022, agents assigned to the US Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General helped bring about 314 criminal indictments and 187 convictions, according to the agency’s latest report to Congress. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

But that’s not all.

A search of Hartley’s rap sheet reveals he’s also awaiting trial in Pennsylvania’s Monroe County for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, careless driving, defiant trespassing, trespass by motor vehicle on a private driveway, and disregarding traffic signals — charges tied to a pair of late 2021 arrests by the Pocono Township Police Department.

On Oct. 21, 2021, he was also booked into the Lehigh County Jail by the Slatington Police Department following a separate careless driving charge. He pleaded guilty to that, according to Pennsylvania court records.

According to the New Jersey Army National Guard, Hartley remains a soldier. A formal statement about his case from officials in Trenton is expected on Friday.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to reflect the defendant’s current status in the New Jersey Army National Guard.

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Carl came to Coffee or Die Magazine after stints at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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