Soldier from Hampton sentenced for stealing nearly $1M in military property

Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (WAVY Photo)
Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (WAVY Photo) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

By WAVY Web Staff – RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — An Army soldier from Hampton will serve 20 months behind bars for stealing military property valued at nearly $1 million.

33-year-old Christopher A. Mann was also ordered to pay more than $940,000.

On May 4, Mann pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property and aiding and abetting.

"Corruption and theft on this large scale undermines the integrity of the Department of Defense, wastes precious American taxpayer dollars, and severely degrades the ability of our Warfighters to conduct combat missions," said Defense Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office.

Court documents say Mann was a sergeant assigned to the United States Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg. He worked as a unit supply specialist in the 98th Civil Affairs Battalion, C Company, where he was responsible for ordering military supplies and equipment — property of the United States Department of Defense.

Between about October 2010 and March 2013, Mann abused his position to coordinate the theft of large amounts of government property from Fort Bragg. The stolen property consisted of ready-to-eat meals (MREs) and assorted military equipment, including weapon sights, knives, and sunglasses.

As part of the scheme, Mann made false and fraudulent memoranda which made it appear as if his unit needed the items to train and carry out its mission. Mann would take the stolen property off the base to black market purchasers in and around Fayetteville who would buy the items for cash.

Two of Mann's co-conspirators, Joseph Horner and John McCaa, have entered guilty pleas in related cases and are awaiting sentencing. Charges on file say Horner was a civilian black market purchaser in Fayetteville who bought stolen MREs and other military property from Mann.

McCaa was a civilian contractor for the Department of Defense who, at the time, was working for the Special Forces dining facility, where he was responsible for processing MRE requests from Mann's unit. Prosecutors allege that McCaa knew Mann fraudulently requested over 1,700 cases of MREs, yet still authorized the release of the MREs. McCaa is also accused of arranging to sell part of the stolen MREs to his own black market contacts off base.