Columbia Man Sentenced for Stealing Equipment Worth More Than $770,000 from General Motors Spring Hill Plant
NASHVILLE, TN—Anthony Praino, 51, of Columbia, Tennessee, was sentenced on July 28, 2014, to 30 months in prison for interstate shipment of hundreds of pieces of stolen auto manufacturing equipment, and failing to disclose to the IRS, the income he earned from selling the equipment, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Praino pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell in December 2013 and admitted that, while employed as a fork lift operator at the General Motors plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., he stole the equipment and sold it during 2011 and 2012.
Investigators with General Motors discovered that a significant amount of expensive equipment was missing and subsequently identified some of the equipment advertised for sale on eBay. The equipment was clandestinely purchased by the investigators and when it was delivered to them, the return address for the sender was determined to be Praino’s residence. General Motors referred the matter to the Maury County Sheriff’s Office and given the value and volume of the stolen equipment, the FBI and the IRS were also notified.
Agents began monitoring Praino’s activities and observed him depositing a large parcel for delivery by a local commercial shipping company. Agents determined that the shipment contained more stolen, high-dollar equipment that was being shipped to Thailand. A search warrant was obtained for Praino’s home in Columbia, Tenn., where agents discovered additional stolen General Motors equipment valued at more than $500,000.
Additional testimony at the guilty plea established that Praino had received more than $145,000 from the sale of the stolen equipment, which he failed to disclose when filing his 2011 tax return. As a result, he failed to pay about $48,000 in additional income tax, which constitutes a separate federal crime.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Maury County Sheriff’s Office. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hilliard Hester.