CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A Marine has been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling stolen body armor (search) over the Internet.
Marine authorities said they believe Staff Sgt. Marvin Funiestas (search), 26, sold 100 to 110 of the ceramic-reinforced vests before he was arrested in November. The vests were intended for U.S. troops; some servicemen in the Middle East have reported trouble obtaining vests.
Funiestas was sentenced last week on charges of conspiracy, wrongfully selling government property and larceny.
Investigators believe another Marine, who has not yet been charged, falsified reports about the number of vests on hand and sent vests to Funiestas, who sold about $88,000 worth of equipment for $35,000 to $40,000.
"This was brand-new equipment," prosecutor Capt. Mark Spalding said. "This is especially hard to take because we are having a hard time getting enough vests to field with our Marines."
The sale of the vests, known as Point Blank Interceptor Ballistic body armor, is restricted to law enforcement and military personnel.
Authorities are trying to retrieve the body armor. One eBay customer in San Diego bought two vests and shipped one to a son-in-law in the Army, who was stationed in Kuwait and had not been issued a vest.
Spalding said that while most of the vests were sold domestically, at least two or three went to China, raising concerns that Chinese engineers may try to duplicate the design.