Veteran’s Affairs Respiratory Therapist charged with stealing COVID-19 related medical supplies and selling them on eBay
Between January and June 2020, defendant allegedly stole and sold ventilators, bronchoscopes, and other respiratory support equipment
Seattle - A 41- year-old Bonney Lake, Washington, man was charged today in U.S. District Court in Seattle with theft of government property for his scheme to profit by stealing and selling respiratory support equipment from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. GENE WAMSLEY was employed as a Respiratory Therapist at VAMC until he was placed on leave from VAMC on June 9, 2020. WAMSLEY made his initial appearance on the criminal complaint today in Seattle.
“Right now respiratory support equipment is critical in medical care for those suffering with COVID-19 infections. To steal and sell equipment needed to care for our veterans is a shocking betrayal,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.
According to the criminal complaint, the investigation began in January 2020 when VAMC reported two bronchoscopes missing from the hospital. A third bronchoscope was reported missing in April 2020. Staff at the VAMC had noticed bronchoscopes listed for sale on eBay from a seller in Bonney Lake, Washington. The investigation linked the sale of three bronchoscopes to WAMSLEY. A further review of eBay records revealed WAMSLEY had sold five ventilators in March and April 2020. Three ventilators were found to be missing from VMAC during the same time period. EBay records reveal a variety of other respiratory support equipment sold by the account linked to WAMSLEY. Administrators at VAMC confirmed the items were used in the respiratory therapy department.
Law enforcement executed a court authorized search warrant at WAMSLEY’s home on June 9, 2020. Medical supplies and eBay sales records were seized in the search.
The charges contained in the criminal complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Theft of government property is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
The case is being investigated by the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Cecelia Gregson.