Three civilian contractors who worked at Camp Pendleton pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to stealing more than $3 million in medical equipment from the base.
According to U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy’s office, the three defendants – Henry Bonilla, 25, of Pomona, Calif., Richard Navarro, 39, of Fallbrook, and Michael Tuisee, 34, of Oceanside – worked in warehouses run by 1st Medical Logistics Company aboard Camp Pendleton.
The 1St MEDLOG unit is responsible for maintaining and shipping expensive medical equipment to combat forces around the world. The equipment stolen by the defendants was going to be shipped by the military overseas to treat injured Marines.
With full access to the warehouses, NCIS investigators say the defense contractors were able to repeatedly get their hands on a lot of sophisticated, pricey medical equipment.
Bonilla, Navarro and Tuisee admitted to participating in a conspiracy to steal ultrasound machines, ventilators, hydroclaves, defibulators, headlights, and laryngoscopes. The contractors stole the costly items by loading them into their personal vehicles and hauling the equipment off base.
Investigators say Bonilla, Navarro and Tuisee then sold the medical equipment to resellers, often meeting customers in secluded parking lots at nighttime to sell the pilfered goods.
The combined value of the stolen government property exceeded $3 million.
All three defendants pleaded guilty Thursday and are now scheduled for sentencing on May 24, Duffy’s office confirmed.
The contractors each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a three-year term of supervised release, restitution and a $100 special assessment fine.
“Today’s guilty pleas advance the goals of rooting out corruption among our area defense contractors, and sending a strong message that the Department of Justice will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who seek to profit at the expense of our men and women in uniform,” Attorney Duffy said in a statement.