Greenville Man Sentenced for Federal Firearm & Obstruction of Justice Charges
GREENVILLE – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Senior United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard sentenced RICKY JAY BALL, 40, of Greenville to 96 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.
BALL was named in a 4-count Superseding Indictment filed on August 8, 2017. On September 11, 2017, BALL subsequently pled guilty to one-count of Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition by a Felon, two-counts of Obstruction of Justice, and one-count of Altering a Military Discharge Certificate.
On November 12, 2015, BALL received a two-year probationary sentence in the Eastern District of Virginia, following his misdemeanor convictions for Violation of Defense Property Security
Regulations and Possession of False Identification for his conduct in impersonating a United States Navy SEAL. On August 5, 2016, BALL’S supervision was transferred to the Eastern District of North Carolina. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) initiated an investigation in May 2015, upon receiving information from the Greenville Police Department (GPD) that BALL claimed to work for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI). Specifically, BALL told an intern with the Greenville Fire Department (GFD) that he was in court often due to his job, and he obtained warrants on individuals for committing crimes as part of his job responsibilities. BALL also told the intern he could get her parking tickets dismissed; however, the intern became suspicious when she received a late notice in the mail for unpaid parking tickets.
As early as November 17, 2015, BALL’S name appeared in police reports with the GPD as a loss prevention officer (LPO) for Sears in Greenville. During that time, BALL established a working relationship with members of the GPD and Pitt County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), and BALL had asked several police officers if they wanted to shoot firearms with him on the firing range. Specifically, a detective with the PCSO observed BALL in possession of a pistol on April 28, 2016, while BALL was employed at Sears. The detective documented his observations after discovering BALL was a convicted felon. A subsequent interview with BALL’S store manager at Sears also revealed the store manager observed BALL in possession of a badge and firearm during BALL’S employment at Sears. Consequently, on May 28, 2016, the GPD arrested BALL for Impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer.
During a search of BALL’S residence, the PCSO seized a 9mm pistol, four pistol magazines, and numerous rounds of ammunition from BALL’S bedroom closet. Law enforcement later learned the
firearm was purchased by a man in Asheville, North Carolina. On June 30, 2016, the seller was interviewed by investigators and stated he sold the firearm to an individual who identified himself as Ricky Bennett, an alias of BALL. He stated he exchanged firearms with BALL (a/k/a Bennett), trading the recovered Springfield 9mm handgun with magazines for a Sig 9mm elite handgun. He noted BALL showed him his military identification, and BALL asserted to have trained with the U.S. Navy SEALS. On June 6, 2016, the GPD arrested BALL for Possession of a Firearm by a Felon at his residence in Greenville.
On May 17, 2017, a Probation Violation Hearing was held in the United States Magistrate Court in New Bern, North Carolina to revoke BALL’s federal probation based on his conduct of possessing a firearm as a felon and impersonating law enforcement. During that hearing, BALL submitted numerous false and fabricated documents to the Court. Those documents included fraudulent letters from his employer, community-services providers, and medical providers. Additionally, BALL altered a Military Discharge Certificate, DD-214, and changed his separation from the United States Marine Corps from “involuntary” to “medical.”
This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Greenville Police Department, Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service conducted the criminal investigation of this case. Assistant United States Attorney Peggah B. Wilson handled the prosecution of this case for the government.