Annapolis man admits to stealing over $340,000 worth of copper cable purchased by the United States for military drones

October 20, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - Levon Smith, age 54, of Annapolis, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to theft of government property in connection with a scheme to steal and sell over $340,000 worth of copper cables and other government property used in foreign military operations.

The plea agreement was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service - Mid-Atlantic Field Office.

“Theft of Defense Department property is an issue that reverberates throughout the contracting process,” said Robert Craig, Special Agent in Charge for the DCIS-Mid Atlantic Field Office. “Safety concerns and costs increase and literally everyone pays the price. Our men and women serving in harm's way deserve better. The guilty plea today shows that the Defense Criminal Investigative Service remains steadfast in its efforts to protect our war fighters and the integrity of the contracting system.”

According to Smith’s plea agreement, from March 2008 to November 2009, Smith was a Senior Material Control Analyst at AAI Corporation, located in Hunt Valley, Maryland. AAI provides innovative aerospace and defense technologies, including unmanned aircraft to the U.S. government and other entities. Smith had worked for AAI in other capacities from 2004 to March 2008.

The U.S. government purchased remote vehicle terminal cables and copper cables for AAI to install in U.S. property, including unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) used in foreign military operations. The United States government stored these drone cables at AAI buildings in Hunt Valley. On more than 40 occasions from June 2008 to October 2009, Smith removed cables and other U.S. property from the AAI buildings, including replacement parts for the drones operated by the U.S. military.

Smith took the stolen cables and property to a recycling company located in Rosedale, Maryland, presented an expired Arizona driver’s license and sold the stolen materials at scrap metal prices. Smith stole approximately $340,000 worth of government materials and received approximately $22,000 from the recycling company.

Smith faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake scheduled sentencing for December 17, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised DCIS for their investigative work and commended officials at AAI for their assistance in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Harry M. Gruber, who is prosecuting the case.

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