Former Fort Bragg officer and wife plead guilty to theft of government property
RALEIGH, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — A former Fort Bragg Special Forces captain and his wife pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday in connection with the theft of government property.
According to the criminal complaint, John Raymond Meier, 33, was serving as a supply officer in the 3rd Special Forces Group from 2017 to 2019. His job included reviewing and approving requests from Army units to purchase supplies and equipment with a government purchase card.
During his time in the position, his wife Nicole Anderson Meier, 34, incorporated the limited liability company White Board Solutions in Washington state under her maiden name and using her parents' Washington state address, the complaint states. Nicole Meier then obtained an identification number making her eligible to bid on contracts with the government.
As White Board Solutions, Nicole Meier agreed to provide three weeks of advanced commercial driver's training for soldiers who transported supplies to support 3rd Group's mission. As the supply officer, her husband signed off on the contracts, the complaint states.
During 2018, White Board Solutions negotiated six purchase agreements with the Army and received approximately $149,970, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Under these agreements, White Board Solutions was required to rent the trucks and provide advanced training. While the company rented the trucks, it never provided any advanced training, the release states.
Since the estimated cost of renting the trucks was only $67,124, it was determined that the Army overpaid White Board Solutions by $82,845.60. The couple agreed to pay that amount in restitution to the Army, the release states.
Nicole Meier, on behalf of White Board Solutions, pleaded guilty to theft of government property. The business faces a maximum sentence of five years probation and a $500,000 fine.
In addition to the truck training contracts, John Meier also helped his wife sell ratchet strips, rifle magazines, firing adapters, targets and ink cartridges to the Army, the release states.
During the plea hearing Thursday, the government told the court about several email communications between the couple, according to the release.
On one occasion, as the supply officer, John Meier received a request to purchase M4 rifle magazines. He then reportedly forwarded the email to his wife with instructions for her to find the items and figure out how much she could charge the Army for them, the release states. On another occasion, John Meier provided his wife with quotes from other vendors to assure she would submit a lower quote and obtain the Army's business.
John Meier pleaded guilty to performing official acts affecting a personal financial interest. He faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The couple now live in the Seattle area with their four children, according to court documents. John Meier joined the Army in 2008 and was commissioned an officer in 2014, the court record states.
"John Meier abused his position of public trust for personal gain, diverted proceeds meant to support the warfighter, and undermined the very principles he swore to defend as a U.S. Army officer," Christopher Dillard, special agent in charge of the Mid-Atlantic Field Office for the DOD Office of Inspector General, said in the release.
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