GORDON COUNTY, Ga. – Federal authorities have convicted a northwest Georgia man accused of running a conspiracy to steal nearly $3 million in heavy equipment while he was in prison.
Damon Thomas Young, served 20 years at the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville after being found guilty of assaulting a police officer and 10 years for violating the state Corrupt and Affected Organizations Act.
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Young also has prior convictions for theft by taking, posing as a public official, arson, forgery, burglary and arson along with theft by deception and is not eligible for a license. released from prison by June 2030. Young was convicted of assault and charged by RICO in 2010 and has been in prison since.
Officials said this time, while Young was serving a sentence, began using pirated cell phones in 2019 to try to trick many heavy equipment dealers out of millions of dollars worth of equipment. . They said Young was using the alias Morgan Sylvia and claimed he was a purchasing officer for AbbVie, a real biopharmaceutical company. They said he would then order heavy construction equipment to be delivered to and around Ranger, Georgia where he and his family live, claiming the company was building a facility in Ranger..
Officials said the device would then be for sale on Craigslist.
Young was able to purchase a variety of construction equipment by contacting dealers by phone, text, and email while in prison. He was able to complete credit applications, purchase orders, sales contracts, and insurance documents, which he would return to agents as part of the program. Officials said he was also able to send agents a corporate fraud settlement document that was allegedly signed by company officials, but those signatures were in fact forged.
The US attorney’s office said Young was able to order nearly $3 million in equipment from six different dealers. They said most dealers were able to catch the fraud before shipping the device, but Young was still able to get four sent to him for more than $500,000. He was able to sell some equipment online and used the money to buy two Chevy trucks. The Gordon County Sheriff’s Office was able to recover all of the stolen and sold devices.
A federal judge sentenced Young to seven years in prison for the crime, followed by three years of supervised release, and the judge ordered him to return $30,000 to an online buyer of the stolen device. .
The judge also said the new sentence would apply concurrently with the state sentence he is currently serving.
US Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said: “The youth planned to steal millions of dollars worth of heavy equipment while serving a sentence for assaulting a police officer. “Prisoners should not think that the crimes they commit from prison will go unpunished just because they have been detained. As in this case, inmates who commit crimes from behind bars will face additional federal prison time to serve their sentences after the end of their sentences in their state.”
“The use of pirated cell phones by inmates as a tool to further commit crimes from behind the walls of our facilities will not be tolerated,” said Commissioner Timothy C. Ward. of the Georgia Department of Corrections. “We are grateful to our law enforcement partners at every level for ensuring justice is served to this individual for his role in jeopardizing both safety and security operations. confidentiality of our facilities and the safety of the public.”
“We are delighted that this matter has been successfully brought to a conclusion through the combined efforts of our partners in state and federal government, and ourselves. This is a large and complex investigation that requires the utmost efforts of all officers, agents and prosecutors assigned to the case. I congratulate each investigative agency and the United States Attorney’s Office for all of their hard work,” said Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston.
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