Retired Air Force brigadier general sentenced to 1 year in federal prison for wire fraud, falsifying tax returns

Scott A. Bethel, 59, of Spring Branch also ordered to pay $154,827.50 in restitution

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SAN ANTONIO – A retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general from Spring Branch was sentenced Wednesday to 12 months and one day in federal prison with three years of supervised release for wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

In addition to the prison sentence, Scott A. Bethel, 59, was also ordered to pay $154,827.50 in restitution.

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According to court documents, Bethel began working as a government contractor and advisor to the Air Force upon his active duty retirement in 2012.

During that time, Bethel launched his own business, working directly with government staffing contracts, which he tended to simultaneously with the work he conducted for his contract employer, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said in a news release.

Bethel would seek hotel reimbursement from both his employer and the government. He submitted false hotel invoices for instances when he stayed with personal acquaintances rather than at hotels.

He also 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 falsified charitable deductions and business expenses from 2015 to 2019, resulting in a government tax loss of approximately $139,687.00.

“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.”

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of since the website's launch in October 2000.

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