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Press Release

Three Individuals Charged with Conspiracy to Steal Government Property From Anniston Army Depot

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. –  Three additional individuals have been charged with conspiracy to steal United States property from Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) in an ongoing investigation, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona, Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent in Charge Darrin Jones, Defense Logistics Agency Office of the Inspector General Assistant Deputy Inspector General Ronald Wesley, and United States Army Criminal Investigation Division Acting Special Agent in Charge D. Todd Outlaw.

In charging documents filed Thursday in United States District Court, Christopher Price, 54, of Childersburg, James Kenneth Scott, 71, of Sylacauga, and Eric Matraia, 43, of Munford are each charged with one count of conspiracy to steal United States property. Two civilian employees at ANAD, Stantillio Whitfield and Tevin Fletcher, were charged with conspiracy in October. Whitfield pleaded guilty before Judge Corey L. Maze on November 21, 2022, and Fletcher has agreed to plead guilty.

According to the charging documents, Matraia, who was a Security Guard at ANAD, and other civilian employees of the Department of Emergency Services stole military property from warehouses at ANAD. Scott acted as a middleman, delivering the stolen property to Price, who owned The Prepper Depot, a military surplus store in Sylacauga. Price sold the stolen property at deeply discounted prices at his store and gun shows. According to the documents, between 2015 and November 2021 Price received property stolen from ANAD valued at approximately $4 million. The stolen items included equipment that was designed to be attached to military weapon systems to provide operators with instant nighttime engagement capabilities and/or improved target acquisition.

"These cases demonstrate that insiders and their cohorts will be held accountable when they abuse their positions of trust and place personal gain above their duty and the safety of our military personnel, " United States Attorney Escalona said.  "We continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prosecute those who steal government property." 

“I’m proud of the great work done by the investigative team and the U.S. Attorney’s office to bring these government employees and their co-conspirators to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Darrin Jones of the Defense Department’s Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service. “Our office will work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to make sure those who steal from our military Depots are held accountable.”

“Today’s court filings highlight the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division’s and partner agencies hard work and resolve to aggressively seek out and hold those who conspire to deprive the U.S. Government of sensitive property accountable for their actions,” said D. Todd Outlaw, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Southern Field Office, DACID.

According to the plea agreements, also filed Thursday, Price, Scott, and Matraia have each agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge. The plea agreements state that each defendant has agreed to pay restitution to the United States and forfeit the money they made from the conspiracy.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Defense Criminal Investigative Service and Defense Logistics Agency Office of Inspector General are investigating the case. Assistant United States Attorney George Martin is prosecuting the case.

An information contains only charges.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  

Updated December 5, 2022