Man steals $ 500,000 in construction materials from prison cell

© GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

A man serving a 20-year prison sentence in the US state of Georgia was given an additional seven years after being convicted of stealing construction equipment using a cell phone from smuggling.

Damon Thomas Young, 39, attempted to steal nearly $ 3 million worth of equipment from dealers in a number of states and managed to steal around $ 500,000 before the scam was discovery.

Young, sentenced to 11 years for racketeering and aggravated assault against a police officer, was held at Hays State Prison in Trion, Georgia at the time. He had many previous convictions, including impersonation of a public officer, arson, forgery, burglary and arson, and theft by deception.

Before delving into heavy machinery theft, its first possible release date was June 2030.

In 2019, Young adopted the pseudonym “Morgan Sylvia” and posed as purchasing manager at AbbVie, a true biopharmaceutical company. He ordered the delivery of heavy construction equipment to and around Ranger, Georgia, where he and his family lived, telling dealers that AbbVie was building a new facility there. He would then list the equipment for sale on Craigslist.

Equipment ordered included wheel loaders, skid steer loaders, an excavator, horizontal grinder and dump trucks. Young used his phone to communicate with equipment dealers via voice, text, and email. He fraudulently filled out credit applications, purchase orders, sales contracts and insurance documents and emailed them to dealers under the program. He also emailed a fraudulent AbbVie corporate resolution document purportedly signed by actual executives of the company.

Most dealers discovered the fraud before shipment, but Young was able to acquire four pieces of equipment valued at over $ 500,000. He sold some of the stolen equipment and used the proceeds to purchase two Chevrolet work trucks. The Gordon County Sheriff’s Office has since recovered all the stolen equipment.

US Attorney Kurt Erskine commented, “Young conspired to steal millions of dollars in heavy equipment while serving time for assaulting a police officer. Prisoners should not think that the crimes they commit in prison will go unpunished just because they are already in prison. As in this case, inmates who commit crimes behind bars face an additional federal prison sentence to be served after their sentence ends in the state.

In addition to the federal prison sentence, Young was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $ 30,000 to the online purchaser of the stolen equipment. The court ordered that five years of the federal sentence run consecutively to the state sentence Young is currently serving.

Young pleaded guilty to the charges.

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