- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A former Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) official was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington to 33 months in prison and $342,000 in restitution payments for illegally selling stolen surplus military equipment to Middle Eastern buyers.

In pronouncing a sentence on Gayden C. Woodson, U.S. District Judge James Robertson said, “The word needs to get out to people who are representing this country in the field and in far-flung places that if the cookie jar is open, it doesn’t mean they can steal from it.”

Woodson, 46, of North Ogden, Utah, was convicted on charges that included selling militarized high-mobility multi-wheeled vehicles. He had been employed for 27 years by the DRMS, which is responsible for managing the disposal — by reuse, sale, transfer or donation — of excess U.S. military property.

U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor said that after arriving in the Middle East, Woodson willingly joined an ongoing conspiracy among DRMS personnel and local contractors and purchasers to sell surplus military equipment outside regular channels and pocket the proceeds.

Woodson admitted that he alone obtained nearly $350,000 through this illegal scheme. Among the equipment he admitted to selling in this way were the high-mobility vehicles, which regulations require to be demilitarized before disposal and that if not demilitarized may not be sold to foreign nationals without a validated export license issued by the State Department.

Mr. Taylor said some of the vehicles illegally sold by Woodson and his criminal associates have been traced to, and some recovered from, dealers in Europe, but the whereabouts of most are not known.

He said Woodson admitted he was recruited to the conspiracy by another DRMS official, Ronald W. Wiseman, 60, of New Boston, Texas, who previously pleaded guilty to his part in the scheme. After cooperating with the investigation, Wiseman was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison.

“These men abused their positions of public trust to line their own pockets at the expense of our U.S. military services,” Mr. Taylor said. “It is particularly offensive that in that process they put excess military equipment into the unregulated stream of international commerce — including militarized vehicles which could make their way into the hands of adversaries and endanger our fighting troops abroad.”

DRMS operations at U.S. military facilities overseas are carried out by personnel authorized to conduct local sales for certain usable excess U.S. property, through sealed bid, auction or retail fixed-price sales to qualified purchasers.

From 2000 to 2006, Mr. Taylor said, Woodson served as a DRMS property disposal specialist assigned to Southwest Asia, covering Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries.

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