Man pleads guilty to stealing and selling VA masks and supplies

GULFPORT, Mississippi (AP) – A Veterans Affairs supplies official in southern Mississippi has earned more than $ 50,000 stealing and selling medical masks during the coronavirus pandemic, according to federal prosecutors.

Court records show Chad Paul Jacob, 54, of Saucier, Mississippi, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to theft of government property. The sentence is set for December 7 and he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Jacob served as the deputy chief of supply chain management for the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, according to a press release from Darren J. LaMarca, Acting U.S. Attorney for Southern Mississippi, and Jeffrey A. Breen, special agent in charge of a field office for the Office of the Inspector General of VA.

The release says that from 2009 to late 2020, Jacob stole personal protective equipment, electronics, and medical equipment from the VA and resold them to local pawn shops and on his personal eBay account. The statement said that in addition to making more than $ 50,000 selling stolen N95 masks, Jacob made more than $ 9,000 selling stolen iPads and iPhones.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, the VA Inspector General’s office has aggressively investigated the growing and evolving threat posed by fraud and criminal activity related to COVID-19,” Breen said in the statement. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates our continued work to stop those who take advantage of public health emergencies to perpetrate such frauds.”

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