Retired general sentenced for wire fraud, falsifying tax returns


Date: April 26, 2023


A retired Air Force brigadier general was sentenced in a federal court in San Antonio today to 12 months and one day in prison with three years of supervised release for wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

According to court documents, Scott A. Bethel, of Spring Branch began 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 also submitted false hotel invoices for instances when he stayed 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."

"Today, the 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," said Special Agent in Charge Ramsey E. Covington of IRS Criminal Investigation's Houston Field Office. "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. We are committed to enforcing the law and ensuring that individuals, regardless of their rank or status, are held accountable for their actions as we continue to work with our law enforcement partners to uphold the values of justice and fairness."

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.