GRAHAM MAN SENTENCED TO 6 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR CONSPIRACY INVOLVING STOLEN MILITARY GOODS
Defendant Purchased More than a Million Dollars Worth of Stolen Army Equipment from Active Duty Soldiers
MYKEL DENNY LOFTUS, 46, of Graham, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to six months in prison, a $7,500 fine, and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Possess Stolen Government Property. U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess deferred restitution, which could be as high as $1,024,548.
LOFTUS first came to the attention of the Defense Criminal Investigation Service (DCIS) in January 2004, when agents noticed an ebay seller posting suspected stolen military goods for sale. Records indicated that LOFTUS had posted more than 2,300 items for sale on ebay between January 1, 2003, and March 4, 2004. The items included Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s), chemical lights, Camelback bite valves, Wiley sunglasses, and four Interceptor Body Armor outer tactical vests. Undercover agents then met with LOFTUS, who purchased what he thought were stolen military goods on numerous occasions.
In September 2005, investigators confronted LOFTUS about his purchases of stolen goods and he immediately agreed to assist government investigators. LOFTUS not only provided records of his purchases from Fort Lewis active duty personnel, he traveled with investigators to property he owned in Idaho and helped them locate ammunition he had buried on the property. LOFTUS agreed to testify against the military personnel who had been stealing gear from the base and selling it to him. A dozen soldiers have been prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for their role in the conspiracy to steal and sell the military equipment. Some have been sentenced to incarceration of up to four years, others have had their rank and pay reduced or have been dishonorably discharged. The wife of one of the soldiers was also charged in federal district court with retaliating against a witness.
“The results of this investigation, which include the convictions of Loftus and 11 soldiers, demonstrate that the Department of Defense will vigorously pursue allegations involving the theft of their property and subsequent personal gain by civilians and soldiers in related illicit transactions,” said Richard Gwin, Special Agent in Charge, DCIS – Western Field Office. “With the continued assistance from our Army CID counterparts, we expect to continue to ferret out egregious unlawful activities, fully investigate these crimes, and seek prosecution through the US Attorneys Office and the JAG.”
Assistant United States Attorney David Reese Jennings asked that LOFTUS receive a sentence below the guidelines range because of his valuable assistance to government investigators.
Jennings noted LOFTUS testified against others and assisted in recovering a significant amount of stolen property. Further the information he provided will help investigators develop ways to better safeguard military equipment. Jennings noted “Loftus cooperated with the United States at great personal risk to himself and others. Two defendants involved in this investigation were charged with retaliating against witnesses; one of these defendants even made death threats against Loftus.” Jennings told the court that Loftus had even defied his own lawyer in order to continue his cooperation with the investigating agents. Loftus’ lawyer confirmed that this had indeed happened.
The case was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigation Service (DCIS) and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Reese Jennings.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.