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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

Monday, April 11, 2011

ATF Agent Pleads Guilty To Multiple Felony Charges Involving Theft, Fraud And Firearms Violations

Clifford Dean Posey Faces Possible Prison Term

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA -- A special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who was indicted last week by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, pled guilty this afternoon to a five-count Information charging him with a variety of federal crimes that occurred in the course of his official duties.

Clifford Dean Posey, 43, of Chesapeake, Va. pled guilty this afternoon at his arraignment to a five-count information that aggregates the charges previously filed in last week’s indictment. Today in District Court, Posey pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, one count of embezzlement, one count of possessing or receiving stolen firearms, one count of making a false statement and one count of money laundering.

“When law enforcement personnel break the law, they tarnish the proud tradition of the badge they wear.” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Investigator Posey broke the law and became a criminal – the same kind of criminal he was sworn to investigate. Greed drove him to commit these crimes, which were motivated by his desire to enrich himself. The Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute all individuals who violate federal law, even those who have been sworn to protect it.”

"We have zero tolerance for corruption or criminal activity by any government employee and especially one of our own," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Rich Marianos of the ATF Washington Field Division. "Any time crimes by a law enforcement officer are alleged, it hurts everyone who pins on a badge and swears an oath to protect and serve. The plea today saddens all of us."

Posey admitted today in Federal Court that as part of his duties he came into possession of various items of property that were under his control, including but not limited to firearms, cigarettes, tobacco products and United States currency.

Beginning no later than 2007, Posey began falsifying documents relating to firearms under his custody and control in order to embezzle and convert them to his own use. On one occasion, Posey advertised for sale firearms he had come into custody of by virtue of his employment.

Posey admitted that during 2010 he assisted in the investigation of illegal cigarette trafficking. Posey obtained the access code to a storage unit containing cigarettes intended for use in undercover tobacco investigations. The defendant later contacted two potential targets of the investigation and offered to undercut the negotiated ATF price, an action the defendant was not authorized to take and one he failed to disclose to ATF, as pursuant to protocol.

Beginning in July 2010, Posey was the lead case agent in an undercover tobacco investigation and, in that capacity, was entrusted with the custody and control of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Posey admitted that on four separate occasions from September 4 through November 19, 2010, he sold cigarettes in his control by virtue of his employment, retained the proceeds and failed to report the transactions to the ATF or any other law enforcement officers working on the investigation.

Posey admitted that he falsely submitted receipt and release reports to the ATF regarding firearms. The defendant claimed in the reports that several stolen firearms were either released to the rightful owner or destroyed, when in fact the defendant had taken possession of those firearms.

At sentencing, Posey faces a maximum possible penalty of up 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for the wire fraud charge, up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for the embezzlement count, up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for the possession of a stolen firearm charge, up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for the false statement charge and up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000 for the money laundering charge.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, with the assistance of the ATF and the City of Hampton Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Mott is prosecuting the case for the United States. This case is being handled by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia as a recusal matter from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Updated April 15, 2015