Texas man sentenced for selling Chinese-made military helmets and body armor to federal agencies | USAO-EDVA
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Celeste, Texas man was sentenced yesterday to 33 months in prison for a wire fraud scheme involving the sale of military helmets, body armor and other products made in China to the Department of Defense. United States State and other federal authorities. agencies while falsely claiming that his company was manufacturing the goods in Texas.
According to court documents, from June 2017 to approximately December 2020, Tanner Jackson, 32, operated Top Body Armor, LLC USA, and a related entity, Bullet Proof Armor LLC, from his residence in a rural part of Texas. Jackson was the lowest bidder on contracts to supply the Department of State with helmets and body armor, including personnel guarding the United States Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and foreign partners in the forces of order in Latin America. The equipment was removed from service after concerns over its quality emerged.
As part of this scheme, Jackson altered or falsified the ballistics lab test reports he provided to the government. On one occasion, after his products failed testing at a legitimate lab, Jackson set up his own fake ballistics lab – “Texas Ballistics LLC” – and simply produced bogus reports giving himself passing grades. To conceal the Chinese origin of the products and the associated delays in shipping the products to the government, Jackson created and controlled numerous email accounts on behalf of alleged employees of the shipping company. Jackson allegedly authored email exchanges between himself and the bogus employees, while copying government contract workers, to explain shipping delays from China with cover stories such as truck crashes and disease outbreaks of COVID in the warehouse. Jackson also won similar contracts with the Department of the Air Force. Court records also show that Jackson applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan based on false documentation and obtained HubZone status by falsely stating his business location.
Jessica D. Aber, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Wayne A. Jacobs, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office criminal division; and Diana Shaw, a senior official serving as State Department Inspector General, made the announcement after the sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell L. Carlberg prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release can be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Court documents and related information can be found on the website of the district court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER looking for case #1:21-cr-238.