Visiting U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson with the Middle District of Georgia sentenced John Roberts, 27, of Clarksville to 15 years in prison. A federal jury found Roberts guilty Aug. 31 of conspiracy to seal U.S. Army property and selling that stolen property, 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of violating the arms export control act. Lawson also ordered Roberts to pay $4.2 million in restitution to the U.S. Army.
During the trial, the evidence proved Roberts conspired with soldiers who stole the equipment, often after hours, from the installation at Fort Campbell. Roberts then bought the equipment from the soldiers in cash and resold it via eBay. He knew that some of the soldiers he was buying the stolen equipment from had financial problems or serious drug addictions.
The U.S. Army equipment listed for sale on eBay included sniper telescopes and other sniper rifle accessories; parts for M249 machine guns; sights for M203 grenade launchers; “red dot” sights for M2 and M4 assault rifles; flight helmets; communications headsets; and medical supplies. Some of the equipment was advertised on eBay as “Army Special Forces,” “U.S. Government Issued,” and “New in Package.”
The evidence at trial also proved Roberts illegally exported certain restricted U.S. Army equipment, including night-vision helmet mounts. Roberts sold the stolen equipment to eBay customers around the world, including to customers in Russia, China, Thailand, Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, India, Germany and Mexico.
The other defendants previously pleaded guilty and were also sentenced Tuesday.
Alexander Hollibaugh, formerly of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and sell U.S. Army property and was sentenced to time served and placed on probation.
Dustin Nelson, 23, of Northville, New York, and Aaron Warner, or Fort Campbell, Kentucky, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and sell U.S. Army property and were sentenced to three years probation.
The four remaining defendants also pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 8. They are Michael Barlow and Jonathan Wolford, both of Clarksville, Kyle Heade, of Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Cory Wilson, of Gonzalez, Louisiana.
Each faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the conspiracy charge. Wilson faces up to 20 years for each count of wire fraud and violating the arms export control act. In addition, Barlow faces up to 10 years in prison on the theft charge. The defendants also face forfeiture of the proceeds of their crimes.