States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|October 7, 2010||
FORMER MEMBER OF U.S. NAVY SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR STEALING AND SELLING EQUIPMENT
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that WILFRED J. BOUTON, 31, of Bremerton, Washington, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing and selling sensitive military equipment. Judge Thompson also ordered BOUTON to pay restitution in the amount of $62,311.42.
According to court documents and statements made in court, BOUTON was a gunner’s mate, first class, in the United States Navy assigned to an explosive ordinance disposal unit at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Oak Harbor, Washington. From 2007 to 2009, BOUTON stole gun sights and other gun-related accessories from his unit’s armory, including Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights (ACOGs), rifle scopes, spotting scopes and range finders, which are primarily designed for military snipers and other precision shooters. BOUTON then sold the equipment over the internet using PayPal to co-defendant Danai Vira, also known as Arkradani Viranuvatti, 31, of Sanford, Florida. Vira re-sold the equipment to others, including Carl Williams, 40, of Savannah, Georgia, also a co-defendant. Williams sold the items to buyers in the United States and overseas.
“Illegal weapons trafficking is a serious offense that endangers the lives of our military servicemen and servicewomen overseas,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “This office and our federal law enforcement partners remain committed to investigating and prosecuting these crimes to ensure that sensitive military technology does not wind up in the wrong hands.”
An examination of PayPal records reveals at least 64 separate transactions between Bouton and Vira from September 2007 to June 2009. In total, Bouton was paid approximately $90,231 by Vira for the stolen equipment.
Williams has admitted that, in November 2008, he shipped five of the stolen ACOGs to an individual in Germany.
“This investigation typifies the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s dedication to proactively identify individuals and groups involved in the theft, sale and illegal export of sensitive U.S. military technology,” stated Ed Bradley, Special Agent in Charge of the DCIS Northeast Field Office. “During a time of war, it is unconscionable that fellow Americans would steal from the nation’s warfighters to line their own pockets.”
“Enforcing U.S. export laws is a critical component of ICE’s national security mission and is a top priority of the agency,” stated Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. “This case will send a message to those individuals who attempt to profit by illegally exporting improper defense equipment. ICE will continue to aggressively pursue those who violate our laws.”
On July 22, 2009, BOUTON was arrested by agents with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. BOUTON was discharged from the Navy on August 11.
On October 19, 2009, BOUTON pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic in stolen government property. Vira and Williams also have pleaded guilty to the same charge and were each sentenced previously to one day of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. In addition, Vira was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $30,000.
This matter was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service of the United States Department of Defense, Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Export Enforcement of the United States Department of Commerce. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edward Chang with the assistance of law student intern Nicholas Torrey.
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