A ring of six US soldiers and two civilians have been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly stealing sensitive US Army equipment and selling it on eBay, it was announced Thursday.
The soldiers, who were based at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, stole more than $1 million worth of military equipment, including night vision helmet mounts, sniper telescopes, flight helmets, communication headsets and grenade launcher sights, according to the indictment, which the Department of Justice announced.
They sold the equipment, advertised as “Army Special Forces” and “US Government Issued,” to the two civilians named in the indictment from Clarksville, Tennessee, who resold it on eBay.
Some of the buyers lived in Russia, China, Ukraine, Mexico and other countries in central Europe, the indictment said.
“We never want to allow the illegal and self-serving actions of a few to cast a shadow on the thousands of military heroes who every day place themselves in harm’s way to protect this great nation,” David Rivera, US Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said in a written statement.
Those indicted were charged with conspiring to steal or receive US Army property and to sell those items without authority. Two of the men were also charged with multiple counts of wire fraud, as well as money laundering and violating the Arms Export Control Act, which could bring a penalty of 20 years in prison.
All of them are facing at least five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the conspiracy charge.
eBay said in a statement that the company assisted with the investigation.
“eBay worked collaboratively with law enforcement agencies, providing them with the information necessary to support their case,” eBay said. “eBay has clear policies on what can and can’t be listed across various categories, and we have dedicated teams that proactively and reactively remove listings that are not permitted to be sold on our marketplace.”
eBay said it “proactively identified several items that were in violation of our policies and removed them.”
“It’s especially disturbing when we identify corrupted members of our military who undermine the welfare of this country,” Raymond Parmer, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, said in the statement.