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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Arizona

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Former Homeland Security Investigations Agent Sentenced for Theft from Agency

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Sean M. Nelson, 44, of Mesa, Arizona, was sentenced last week, by United States District Judge Susan R. Bolton to two years of federal probation and ordered to pay $133,999 in restitution to the Department of Homeland Security. Nelson pleaded guilty to Theft of Government Property in October 2022 and agreed to resign from the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as part of his plea agreement with the government.

Between November 2019 and October 2021, Nelson, then a Special Agent with HSI, worked without permission or authorization for several private companies while on duty for HSI, and used his government owned vehicle (GOV) for such unauthorized outside work. Nelson drove the GOV, that he agreed to use only for HSI duty purposes, while working for Amazon, Uber, and Lyft during time periods he was supposed to be working for HSI. Nelson’s actions in working for these companies while on duty for HSI resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in losses to the government.

“As a result of the conviction, Mr. Nelson has forfeited much of his salary during the time period of his on-the-job criminal activity, and as a federal felon he’ll never lawfully possess or use a firearm ever again,” said United States Attorney Gary Restaino. “His dereliction of duty was a grave disservice to his hard-working law enforcement colleagues and the taxpayers alike.”

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant United States Attorney Sean K. Lokey, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution.

CASE NUMBER:            CR-22-01307-PHX-SRB-1
RELEASE NUMBER:    2023-008_Nelson

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Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 
Updated January 24, 2023