Two Oklahoma City Metro Men Plead Guilty to Interstate-Theft Crimes
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – DENNIS LEE, 44, of Nichols Hills, pled guilty today to possession of stolen property that crossed a state boundary and to being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced Mark A. Yancey, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. U.S. Attorney Yancey also announced that KENNETH DALE SMITH, 53, of Oklahoma City, has pled guilty to misprision of a felony in connection with interstate theft.
According to Count 1 of a five-count indictment filed on June 20, 2017, Lee and Smith were members of a conspiracy that stole motor vehicles and other items from Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Conspirators transported the stolen property to the Oklahoma City area, where they "fenced" it for profit. The indictment alleges that some of the property was stored at Richardson Homes, LLC, on South Portland Avenue in Oklahoma City. Counts 2 through 4 charge Lee with possession of particular stolen vehicles during the summer of 2016. Smith is also charged in Count 4 with possessing a stolen vehicle. According to the indictment, the stolen property was worth a total of approximately $325,000.
Lee is charged in Count 5 with being a felon in possession of a firearm. It also alleges that Lee had been convicted of a crime punishable by one year or more in prison, which made it a federal felony for him to possess a firearm.
Today Lee pled guilty to one of the possession-of-stolen-property counts and to the firearms count. At sentencing, he could receive on each count up to 10 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. He will forfeit 16 firearms that were in his possession on November 10, 2016, in McClain County. The remaining charges against Lee will be dismissed at sentencing.
Smith pled guilty today to misprision of a felony, charged in a separate filing on November 2, 2017. He admitted in court that in June 2016, he concealed the offense of possessing stolen property that had crossed a state boundary when he instructed someone by text message not to disclose the circumstances under which he had acquired stolen property. This offense carries a maximum punishment of 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The United States has agreed to dismiss other charges against Smith at sentencing. Both defendants will be sentenced in approximately 90 days.
Four others have already pled guilty in this investigation. On March 8, 2017, Amanda Czermak pled guilty to the interstate-theft conspiracy. On August 21, 2017, Auston Slater pled guilty to the same conspiracy, and Dakota Epperly and Dakotah Henderson pled guilty to possessing stolen property that had crossed a state boundary. All four of these defendants are awaiting sentencing.
This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI Major Theft Task Force, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry Investigative Service ("ODAFF"), and the Oklahoma City Police Department. The Major Theft Task Force consists of the FBI, ODAFF, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, and the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edward J. Kumiega, Mark R. Stoneman, and Ashley L. Altshuler are prosecuting the case. Reference is made to court records for further information.