Crane employee from Jasper sentenced to prison

By BILL POWELL
Herald Staff Writer

EVANSVILLE — Former Crane Army Ammunition Activity employee James N. Emmons, 35, of Jasper, has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for using a government-issued credit card to purchase $159,000 in items for his personal use.

Emmons pleaded guilty March 17 in U.S. District Court in Evansville to making the unauthorized purchases, which were paid for by the U.S. Department of Defense, according to Tim Horty, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.

The thefts involving notebook computers, televisions, professional-grade sound and disc jockey equipment, digital cameras, MP3 players, printers, electronics and firearms occurred between January 2010 and September 2012, according to federal charging documents filed in October 2013.

Emmons was hired as an office automation assistant in 2003, according to Crane Army Ammunition Activity public affairs spokesman Tom Peske. He later worked as a supply technician. At the time of his resignation, Peske said, Emmons was working as an assistant planner and estimator.

Officials were tipped off when a Crane Army employee saw a receipt for a ladder that was to be delivered to Emmons’ house, according to Peske.

“This and other purchases that came to light at that time raised flags with CAAA managers,” Peske said. “That set off an internal audit.”

 Irregularities in purchases made by Emmons using his government purchase card were identified during an internal audit by Crane Army Ammunition Activity officials during September 2012, Peske said.

On Sept. 12, 2012, the CAAA’s commander initiated an administrative investigation that detected suspected fraudulent purchases. On Oct. 3, 2012, CAAA officials notified the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command at Fort Knox, Ky. Agents from that command, the Joint Munitions Command’s law enforcement section and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service at Indianapolis unraveled the details.  

Peske said Emmons used his knowledge of the system to create fictitious documents for review by approving officials, which initially concealed his illegal activities.

Since this investigation, Peske said, Crane Army has subsequently initiated audits and process-improvement projects to improve property accountability procedures and to ensure accountability regarding use of government purchase cards.

Emmons resigned in 2012.

“Crane Army employees, especially those responsible for making purchases for the government, receive ethics training in the proper use of government funds,” Peske said. “While the Emmons case is disappointing, Crane Army employees continue to take pride in providing ammunition to the warfighter in the most safe, efficient and cost effective manner possible.”

The government charging documents said the firearms Emmons bought included a Kimber .45-caliber pistol, an FN Herstal Five-seveN 5.7mm pistol, a Glock 9mm pistol, a Mossberg pump-action 12-gauge shotgun, an ISSC Sporting model .22-caliber rifle, a Hi-Point .45-caliber rifle and assorted ammunition. The computers involved included a MacBook laptop, an Apple iPad and two HP Pavilion laptops.

Court documents stated those items and about two dozen additional pieces of stereo equipment and cameras were found when a search warrant was executed at Emmons’ home Oct. 19, 2012, and at Emmons’ storage unit Oct. 24, 2012. Other items were recovered from Emmons on Nov. 8, 2012, according to the government.

Emmons forfeited the stolen property and will be on supervised probation for three years following his release from prison.

Contact Bill Powell at bpowell@dcherald.com.