Six soldiers charged in US over military equipment sold overseas via eBay

Night vision helmet mounts like this (above) were sold to eBay customers in Russia, China and Malaysia, among other places.
Night vision helmet mounts like this (above) were sold to eBay customers in Russia, China and Malaysia, among other places.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Eight people, including six soldiers, have been charged with stealing more than US$1 million (S$1.3 million) worth of sensitive US Army equipment and selling the gear on eBay to buyers in Russia, China and other countries, the Justice Department said on Thursday (Oct 6).

The soldiers, from Fort Campbell in Tennessee and Kentucky, stole the equipment from the base and sold it to the other two defendants, who in turn sold the items online, the government said.

The items sold included sniper telescopes and rifle accessories, machine gun parts and accessories, grenade launcher sights, flight helmets, communication headsets, body armor and medical supplies, according to a government statement.

Night vision helmet mounts were sold to eBay customers in Russia, China, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Lithuania, Moldova, Malaysia, Romania and Mexico.

Advanced communications headset helmets were sold to buyers in Russia and China and flight helmet mounts were shipped to the two countries as well as to Kazakhstan, the statement said.

Each defendant was charged with conspiring to steal or receive US Army property and to sell or convey US Army property without authority, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to US$250,000.

Three of the defendants face several counts, including wire fraud and violating the Arms Export Control Act, which carry additional prison terms, the government said.

The eight were indicted by a grand jury in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday.