News and Press Releases

Relative Profited from Scheme to Illegally take Government Boats, Plane, Cars and Electronics

June 29, 2009

BRADLEY A. GARNER, 51, a Canadian citizen who resides in Palm Desert, California, was convicted of Wire Fraud and Theft of Honest Services, Mail Fraud, and Unlawful Monetary Transaction today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, Washington. GARNER was convicted of public corruption charges involving a scheme to misappropriate expensive federal property such as boats, planes, vehicles and computers. The jury deliberated about ten hours, following a three week jury trial. U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle ordered Garner detained pending sentencing scheduled for September 28, 2009. GARNER’s co-conspirator, his half-brother Steven B. Smith, a former employee of the Federal Aviation Administration is scheduled for trial on October 6, 2009.

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, Steven Smith misused a government computer to place holds on items meant for transfer to other federal agencies. Smith would place a claim on the property as a representative of the FAA. However, Smith was not authorized to place any holds for the FAA. GARNER then traveled the country picking up claimed goods worth thousands of dollars. Some of the items claimed include two 27' Boston Whaler boats, a Cessna airplane, a 50 foot yacht used in the Bahamas by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and a sailing yawl that had been used by the Naval ROTC program at the University of Washington. Although the scheme was international in scope, the counts of conviction relate to specific things GARNER did in Western Washington as he claimed the various items. For example, the Mail Fraud conviction relates to an insurance claim GARNER filed on the Cessna airplane falsely indicating he had purchased the plane for one dollar. Prosecutors pointed out that GARNER, who ran a limousine service, never obtained title showing the items were legally purchased and never registered the cars, boats or plane with licensing authorities. GARNER stored the items at his home or airport hangar. Some of the items, such as the sailboat claimed from the Navy ROTC, were smuggled to Canada.

GARNER faces up to twenty years in prison for Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud.

GARNER and Smith were first arrested in Southern California in November 2008. They were indicted by the grand jury in February 2009.

The case was investigated by the General Services Administration Office of the Inspector General (GSA-OIG), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG), Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), Army Criminal Investigation Division (Army CID) Defense Criminal Investigation Service (DCIS) and the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David Reese Jennings and Brian Werner.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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