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Ringleader Sentenced to Federal Prison for Stealing and Reselling U.S. Military Goods

U.S. Attorney’s Office April 17, 2013
  • Western District of Texas (210) 384-7100

In Waco this afternoon, 62-year-old Michael Bartch, Sr. was sentenced to two years in federal prison for a scheme to resell millions of dollars worth of U.S. military property stolen from Fort Hood and other U.S. military installations, announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Steve McCollough.

In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Walter S. Smith ordered that Bartch pay a $2,000 fine and be placed under supervised release for a period of two years after completing his prison term.

On March 29, 2012, Bartch pleaded guilty to one count of illegally exporting defense articles, one count of receiving stolen government property, and one count of money laundering. By pleading guilty, Bartch admitted that beginning in 2007, he knowingly violated U.S. export laws by selling stolen U.S. military equipment. Bartch admitted selling night vision equipment, optics for weaponry, body armor, helmets, military clothing, and other items. As a result of the scheme, authorities believe that Bartch and others dealt with in excess of $7 million worth of stolen U.S. military property.

Seven other individuals, all convicted on federal charges resulting from this investigation, have previously been sentenced to terms ranging from six months’ incarceration to 120 months in federal prison. Charges included receipt of stolen government property, money laundering, illegal export of defense articles, conspiracy, theft of government property, and felon in possession of a firearm.

IRS Special Agent in Charge Steve McCollough commented, “Government employees, both active duty military personnel and their civilian counterparts, like Bartch and his criminal associates, have a sworn duty to protect the assets of the government and to ensure that the governments valuable resources are not stolen. The potentially sensitive military property stolen by these individuals could be used against the U.S. by its enemies. IRS-Criminal Investigation plays a crucial role with its law enforcement partners in bringing these individuals to justice.”

This continuing investigation is being conducted by the Central Texas Counter Proliferation Task Force made up of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division, Department of Commerce, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

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