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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 5, 2020

Veterans Affairs respiratory therapist pleads guilty to stealing and selling COVID-19 respiratory supplies

Defendant admits stealing ventilator and bronchoscopes and selling for a fraction of their value on eBay

Seattle - A respiratory therapist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Seattle pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to theft of government property, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  GENE WAMSLEY, 41, of Bonney Lake, Washington, admits stealing a ventilator and other respiratory medical equipment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and selling it for his own gain.  WAMSLEY faces up to ten years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on January 11, 2021.

According to records filed in the case, the investigation began in January 2020 when VAMC reported two bronchoscopes, used for examining a patient’s airway, went missing from the hospital.  A third bronchoscope was reported missing in April 2020.  In all, WAMSLEY admits stealing and selling three bronchoscopes worth over $100,000 for just $15,750.  WAMSLEY sold the scopes to a Florida resident via eBay.  When WAMSLEY’s home was searched in June, law enforcement seized a fourth bronchoscope and a $6,000 sleep apnea device called a WatchPat that had been stolen from the VA Medical Center.

Further investigation revealed that in April 2020, WAMSLEY also stole a $9,950 respirator and sold it via eBay to an Ohio man for just $6,000.

The total loss to the United States from the thefts is $132,291.

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.

Topic(s): 
Coronavirus
Health Care Fraud
Contact: 
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.
Updated October 5, 2020