Two defense contractors were sentenced in San Diego federal court to prison for conspiring to steal more than $3 million worth of medical equipment from Camp Pendleton, items that had been earmarked to help wounded Marines abroad.
Warehouse clerk Henry Bonilla of Pomona received 15 months in prison and coworker Richard Navarro of Oceanside got one year, prosecutors said.
“This isn’t the theft of pencils and pens,” U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo told the defendants during Friday’s sentencing hearing, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. “This medical equipment was meant for U.S. troops. This type of theft is outrageous and puts our troops at risk. I hope this sentence will send a message to people in government in positions of trust.”
The pair, along with other co-conspirators who have pleaded guilty, worked for 1st Medical Logistics Company on the military base and were responsible for maintaining and shipping medical equipment to troops. The scheme involved stealing sophisticated equipment — including ventilators, ultrasound machines, defibrillators and anesthesia machines — and selling the items to medical equipment re-sellers.
Prosecutors said the men used their own vehicles to cart away the equipment and negotiated with their buyers in parking lots and other spots across Southern California.
Bonilla, 29, was ordered to forfeit two vehicles and more than $172,000 in illegal profits from the scheme, and Navarro, 44, was ordered to give up more than $49,000, prosecutors said. They were also ordered to pay $3 million in restitution to the Marines.
Davis writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.