Body shop manager stole over $500,000 worth of government trucks and parts

The US Department of Justice announced yesterday that the manager of a collision and restoration business in Virginia admitted he helped misappropriate and sell vehicles and parts from the State Department. Specifically, he sold 12 Chevrolet Suburbans, a Hummer, and $7,500 worth of tires and wheels. He pled guilty to charges to commit theft of government property and wire fraud. He will likely see 18 to 20 months in prison, a fine of $4,000 to $40,000, and has already agreed to pay restitution of $416,020 and asset forfeiture of the same amount.

According to the Department of Justice, the body shop manager, James Ratcliffe, worked with the owner of the business and a State Department official, both unnamed, to obtain the property. It started with the wheels and tires, which were delivered and sold on two occasions, one in 2011 and another in 2012. The trucks came later, and were sold throughout 2011 and 2013. Ratcliffe and the shop owner kept most of the profits, and shared some of the leftovers with the government official.

In addition to the vehicles that were sold, the government official also gave Ratcliffe a pair of Suburbans for his own personal use. The Department of Justice estimated the total value of the SUVs at $96,400. In total, the group misappropriated $512,420 worth of property.

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