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Justice News

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Caroline County Man Pleads Guilty To Stealing Property From The Goddard Space Flight Center

Stole Tools and Scaffolding Which He Sold at Pawn Shops in Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Queen Anne’s Counties

Greenbelt, Maryland – Brandon Scott Gauss, age 28, of Preston, Maryland pleaded guilty late yesterday to theft of government property from the Goddard Space Flight Center, part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Inspector General Paul K. Martin, NASA Office of Inspector General.

According to his plea agreement, Gauss was a contract employee at NASA.  As an engineering technician at the Goddard Space Flight Center, he had access to tools and other property NASA owned.  From October 2011 through November 2012, Gauss stole tools and aluminum scaffolding belonging to the government, which he sold to pawn shops for cash. Gauss made over 60 visits to pawn shops throughout Maryland, including Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Queen Anne Counties, and received at least $16,974.  The government has recovered some of the items, worth at least $29,736. Gauss admits that he owes the government at least $11,574.35, the money he received from selling the stolen materials the government has been unable to recover.

As part of his plea agreement, Gauss will be required to pay restitution of $11,574.35 to the U.S. government; $4,461 to Fast Cash Pawn Shop in Annapolis, Maryland; and to forfeit at least $29,412.89.

Gauss faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm has scheduled sentencing for July 2, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the NASA OIG, Office of Investigations for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leah J. Bressack and Sujit Raman, who are prosecuting the case.

Updated January 26, 2015