United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas

08/06/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/06/2020 16:25

Former Federal Government Employee and Active Duty Soldier at Camp Mabry in Austin Admit to Stealing over $1 Million in Military Equipment

In Austin this week, an active duty soldier and a former federal government employee at Camp Mabry admitted to stealing and unlawfully selling more than $1 million worth of items from the military installation in Austin, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash.

Appearing today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Lane, 27-year-old Texas National Guardsman Cristal Avila of Fort Worth pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property. On Tuesday, 35-year-old Joseph Mora of Schertz, TX, Avila's co-defendant and former Program Analyst at the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office warehouse, pleaded guilty to the same charge. By pleading guilty, Avila and Mora admitted to conducting a scheme to remove large quantities of sensitive military grade equipment, including rifle scopes, infrared laser aiming devices and thermal night vision goggles, from the facility without authorization. Mora later sold many of the stolen items on eBay and by other means.

On September 24, 2019, federal agents executed a search warrant at Mora's residence and recovered dozens of items believed to be stolen from Camp Mabry, to include pelican cases containing aiming lights, a pallet of night vision goggles and tripods.

Avila and Mora face up to ten years in federal prison and have agreed to pay restitution to the government for the stolen items as well as profits generated from the sale of those items. Both remain on bond pending sentencing which has yet to be scheduled.

Agents with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command (Army CIC), U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Texas Rangers are investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Galdo and Karthik Srinivasan are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

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The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.