A civilian navy engineer has been charged with stealing government documents on military weapons systems and selling them to a California company who then resold the information to domestic and international clients.
Mark Fitting, 53, who works at a US Navy facility in Philadelphia, was among four people charged on Wednesday on federal charges of stealing government-owned technical information.
Prosecutors allege that Fitting downloaded technical drawings and manuals related to US military weapons systems and sold them to Newport Aeronautical Sales Corporation – a company in Newport Beach, California that sells technical aircraft data.
Melony Erice, 54, who used to live with Fitting, has also been charged, as well as two employees at the company George Posey IV, 36, and Dean Mirabal, 52.
Fitting and Erice are accused of selling at least 5,000 government documents between September 2012 and June last year.
The Navy engineer was allowed access to military computer systems after promising to safeguard controlled data, the complaint says.
Prosecutors say military investigators started investigating Fitting over claims he ‘was interfering with the quality assurance process for aircraft canopies intended for use in US military aircraft’.
The agents found two dozen emails sent from Fitting’s Navy email account to Erice’s Gmail.
Those emails contained government-controlled technical drawings or manuals related to various military weapons systems, including aircraft, the complaint says.
‘[S]ome of those drawings and manuals were specifically labeled with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) distribution warnings related to export control and destruction, as well as DOD contractor proprietary markings,’ the affidavit alleges.
Investigators say Fitting had access to Erice’s Gmail account, which allowed them both to sell the documents to the Newport company.
Over that same seven year period, prosecutors say the company wrote out 150 checks in Erice’s name that totaled $509,845.
The complaint alleges that Fitting and Erice shared the proceeds given they had access to the same bank accounts and credit cards.
Prosecutors say they have a lengthy email between Fitting and Erice that outlined how the engineer was entitled to 75 percent of the profits.
In some cases, Fitting downloaded specific documents requested by the Newport company.
The complaint says that Posey and Mirabal, the employees, knew it was illegal to secure the documents but still paid for them anyway.
The felony offense of theft of government property carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.