Ryan James Headden Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls on November 24, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, RYAN JAMES HEADDEN, a 29-year-old resident of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to wire fraud/Internet sale of stolen property and theft from an Indian Tribal organization. Sentencing is set for March 1, 2010. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On March 3, 2008, HEADDEN was hired by Priority Communications Incorporated (PCI) as a manager for their Havre store. PCI is a business that specializes in the sale, installation, maintenance and storage of communications systems and other law enforcement equipment. HEADDEN had almost complete management control over the Havre operation. He was in charge of purchasing, selling, and installing equipment. HEADDEN performed these responsibilities with little or no supervision from any higher authority in PCI management.
On October 31, 2008, HEADDEN gave notice that he was quitting and a couple of days later did not show up for work.
In November of 2008, the new manager for PCI noticed that some of the store's inventory was missing. Before his departure, HEADDEN had told the person who replaced him as manager that he had cleaned up some of the storage room shelves to make room for further inventory. The storage room is used to store equipment, including previously purchased communications equipment belonging to local and tribal police departments, and other emergency response agencies in the area.
The current manager contacted the owner of PCI in an attempt to locate the missing inventory. At this time, the new manager had begun to suspect that HEADDEN had taken the inventory and sold it. The manager recalled that HEADDEN had a PayPal credit card and speculated that HEADDEN may have sold the missing inventory on Ebay. The manager's secretary noticed that HEADDEN had saved some of his computer passwords on the office computer including his member ID for Ebay. The secretary searched the Ebay website using HEADDEN'S member ID and found pictures of PCI's stolen equipment that had been sold by HEADDEN. Items from PCI sold by HEADDEN on Ebay included police car radios, portable radios, and emergency light bars. In addition, the pictures of the equipment appeared to have been taken inside the PCI store.
Havre Police conducted an investigation into the missing items and was able to identify and recover some of the radios that HEADDEN sold belonging to the Havre Police Department, Chippewa Cree Tribal Police, and Fort Belknap Tribal Police. Each of the XTL2500 radios is valued at approximately $5,000.
In addition, it was identified that AM/FM radios with CD players that PCI took out of the Fort Belknap Tribal Police cruisers when they installed mobile police radios were also missing. PCI stored the radios for Fort Belknap so that when the cruisers were decommissioned, the police radios could be taken out and the AM/FM radios replaced. Six radios were missing, at a cost of $463.99 each.
The manager of PCI also remembered that shortly after HEADDEN quit, an employee of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) came into the store looking for HEADDEN. Apparently, the CBP employee had purchased some equipment from HEADDEN and had not received it. The CBP employee produced a "Bill of Sale" for the purchase which included the equipment purchased, along with the equipment serial numbers. The current manager of PCI reviewed the document and identified the equipment as belonging to PCI.
In an interview with the Havre Police Department, HEADDEN admitted selling the items on Ebay that he took from Priority Communications.
The total loss of HEADDEN'S Ebay sales is between $34,000 and $39,000. The total dollar amount of stolen items from PCI came to $56,996.10.
HEADDEN faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Havre Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.