Former CBP Aircraft Mechanic Sentenced for Stealing Flight Equipment

TUCSON, Ariz. (LAWFUEL) – James Williams, 37, of Tucson, Ariz., was sentenced here on Friday, January 9, 2009, by Chief U.S. District Judge John M. Roll to three years of federal probation and was ordered to pay restitution to the victims of the offense. Williams pleaded guilty on September 23, 2008, to Theft of Government Property.

Williams, formerly a contract mechanic employed at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) aircraft facility in Tucson, was charged with stealing a $6,900 pair of night vision goggles (NVGs) from CBP, selling them on eBay and keeping the proceeds. Williams admitted that over the weekend of August 10-13, 2007, while he was working as an aircraft mechanic at the Air Branch Facility, he took a pair of NVGs, a battery pack and carrying case from the CBP aircraft facility on Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. Williams posted the goggles for sale on eBay. On September 3, 2007, he sold them to a person in Arizona for $3,700 and kept the money from the unauthorized sale.

Alerted to the eBay sale, investigators contacted the Arizona buyer and learned that he had resold them via eBay to a man in Fairbanks, Alaska. Upon recovering the goggles from the Alaska buyer, investigators found the unit serial number and the serial numbers on the tubes had been obliterated, but that there were serial numbers on the eyepieces and objective lenses that matched the stolen pair. Neither eBay buyer realized the goggles were stolen, and both cooperated with authorities. The goggles had originally been purchased by CBP in 2005 for $6,972.39.

The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab, the Alaska State Police and ITT Industries. The prosecution was handled by Mary Sue Feldmeier, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2009-011(Williams)

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