From the Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM – Three additional individuals have been charged with conspiracy to steal United States property from Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) in an ongoing investigation.
This news was announced by U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona, Department of Defense Office of Inspector General Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Southeast Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Darrin Jones, Defense Logistics Agency Office of the Inspector General Deputy Inspector General Jerold Unruh, and United States Army Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent in Charge D. Todd Outlaw.
According to a press release issued by the Department of Justice, in charging documents filed in United States District Court, Kelvin Battle, 53, of Anniston, Steve Bonner, 62, of Goodwater, and Shane Farthing, 41, of Gadsden are each charged with one count of conspiracy to steal United States property. Battle and Bonner are also each charged with an additional count related to specific instances of stealing or selling property stolen from ANAD. Six other individuals have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty to offenses related to the theft of property from ANAD.
According to the charging documents, Battle and Farthing, who were police officers at ANAD, and other civilian employees of the Directorate of Emergency Services stole military property from warehouses at ANAD. Bonner acted as a middleman, selling stolen property directly to buyers and delivering stolen property to the owner of a military surplus store in Sylacauga. 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.
Battle has also been charged with two counts of wire fraud in connection with false statements made to obtain emergency loans and a loan guarantee from the Small Business Administration under programs designed to provide support to small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a plea agreement, also filed today, Farthing has agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy to steal United States property. The plea agreement states that Farthing agreed to pay restitution to the United States and forfeit the money he made from the conspiracy.
The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for theft of government property is ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for wire fraud is twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Defense Criminal Investigative Service and Defense Logistics Agency Office of Inspector General are investigating the cases. Assistant United States Attorneys George Martin and Ryan Rummage are prosecuting the cases.
An indictment or information contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.