(The airman in the photo above is not associated with the staff sergeant in this article.)
A former staff sergeant from Little Rock Air Force Base admitted Wednesday in federal court that he stole $360,951.94 in government funds to buy items he then pawned for personal profit.
Gabriel McCormick pleaded to the embezzlement charge — his plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes.
In the plea, McCormick admitted using a Government Purchase Card to buy items between May 2011 and June 2015 from Alphapointe, an on-base vendor that sells only to authorized cardholders, according to Arkansas Online.
According to Arkansas Online, McCormick, who was attached to the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was authorized to use the card to purchase up to $30,000 a month for items such as aircraft sealant and lubricants.
n a move that would surely ensure his nomination for a Darwin award, McCormick would send e-mail to his supervisor listing his planned purchases of approved items, and then would purchase a number of unauthorized items equaling the total on the approved list. Those purchases include flashlights, multitools, high-end batteries and other personal tools, according to Arkansas Online.
Two or three times a month — over the course of four years, he would sell the unauthorized items he purchased to a local pawn shop, calming cautious pawnshop employees’ suspicions by saying he had a relative who worked for the manufacturer, which allowed him to buy the items at a discount, Arkansas Online reports.
Not only did McCormick admit he’s an incompetent thief, he also admits he used his Photoshop prowess in an attempt to cover his tracks.
McCormick admits in his plea agreement he provided false documents to Air Force auditors to try to cover up his actions. The agreement says he used “image editing software to create false Alphapointe receipts matching the items and amounts he had been authorized to purchase.”
“A 2015 Air Force audit revealed that between May 2011 and May 2015, the defendant used his GPC to purchase more than 4,988 items,” according to the plea agreement signed by McCormick and his attorney, John Wesley Hall Jr. of Little Rock. The agreement continues saying, “These items cost the government $360,951.94, and McCormick admits to causing this loss to the government by purchasing and then selling these items for his own personal gain.”
When sentenced at a later date, McCormick will be required to make full restitution to the U.S. Air Force. He also faces a prison term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years probation, Arkansas Online reports.
He also faces a two-point sentencing enhancement for abusing a position of trust.
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