Retired general sentenced for wire fraud, falsifying tax returns

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A retired Air Force brigadier general will spend 12 months and one day in prison after his conviction for wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

Court documents show 59-year-old Scott A. Bethel of Spring Branch started working as a government contractor and advisor to the Air Force upon his active duty retirement in 2012. During that time, he launched his own business, working directly with government staffing contracts, which he tended to simultaneously with the work he conducted for his contract employer.  Bethel would seek hotel reimbursement from both his employer and the government. Bethel was accused of submitting false hotel invoices for stays with personal acquaintances rather than at hotels.  In total, Bethel received approximately $15,140.50 from the Air Force to which he was not entitled.

An examination of Bethel’s work laptop revealed that he had also falsified charitable deductions and business expenses from 2015 to 2019, resulting in a government tax loss of approximately $139,687.00.

In addition to the prison sentence, Bethel was also ordered to pay $154,827.50 in restitution.

“Our commitment to upholding the rule of law and safeguarding the public trust remains unwavering,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas. “No one is above the law, and my office will relentlessly prosecute those who abuse their positions for personal gain and undermine the integrity of our financial systems, regardless of their status or background.”

IRS-CI, General Services Administration Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigation investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Harris and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Porier prosecuted the case.

More about: