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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit
06/01/2009

Brothers sentenced for conspiring to steal night vision optics from USMC

ICE prevents a plan to illegally export military hardware overseas

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Timothy Oldani, 24, and Joseph Oldani, 21, both of Scott Depot, W.Va., and formerly of Camp Lejeune, N.C., were sentenced on June 1 to five months in prison and 21 months in prison, respectively, for conspiring with each other to steal night vision optics from the U.S. Marine Corps to illegally export them from the United States. Timothy Oldani was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon his release from prison - the first eight months of which will be served at a community confinement facility. The pair previously pleaded guilty in February 2009.

Joseph Oldani admitted that, while on active duty with the Marines, he stole high-grade night vision optics from his station in Kings Bay, Ga. Timothy, Joseph's brother, is a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps reserves. Joseph admitted he transported the stolen optics to Timothy, in Scott Depot, where Timothy subsequently sold the stolen items on the Internet - mainly on eBay.

The convictions stem from a joint investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General - Defense Criminal Investigative Services. The stolen optics are not the type available for public purchase, but are specially designed for military purposes. Importantly, these stolen optics were on the United States Munitions List and subject to presidential control as defense articles prohibited from export without a special license, which neither Oldani had.

"This investigation is another example of how technology, in the wrong hands, could reduce the advantages our military currently possesses" said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Philadelphia. "Working with our law enforcement partners, ICE will continue to aggressively pursue those individuals who have no regard for the safety of our military personnel and that of our nation."

The investigation revealed that the brothers sold and shipped the stolen optics to purchasers in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. Evidence presented at sentencing included a sworn affidavit from a colonel in the U.S. Army assigned as the director of the Washington Office of Special Operations Command. As stated in the colonel's affidavit, "One of the most significant advantages of the military is its ability to effectively maneuver and fight at night. Enabled by the most advanced night vision technology in the world, our military can see and defeat the enemy in the most severe conditions of limited visibility. Keeping this important technology safe and secure, and out of the hands of our potential adversaries, is critical not only to our national security, but to the safety and success of our service members in combat today." He went on to state that, "Our American soldiers are the principal victims of this crime. Illegal exports such as those in the matter at hand, can literally put in jeopardy our military's night-time tactical advantages and America's national security."

In addition to their prison sentences, the brothers were also ordered to pay restitution. Joseph Oldani was ordered to pay $72,013.42, joint and severally with his brother who was ordered to pay $52,872.41.

At Joseph Oldani's sentencing, United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers stated, "You entered the service with the best of intentions, but you brought dishonor to yourself and your family." In sentencing Timothy Oldani, Judge Chambers commented, "You were an excellent soldier. You served with honor and bravery, but that is not a free pass for probation." Assistant United States Attorney Steven I. Loew handled the prosecution in coordination with the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division.