ELKINS, W.Va. — Two Department of Defense employees have admitted to charges related to the embezzlement and unlawful sale of government property in federal court.

Sergeant First Class Shane Morgan, 35, of Buckhannon, with the West Virginia Army National Guard and retired Master Sergeant Russell Morgan, 61, of Helvetia each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to embezzle government property.

The father and son duo obtained access to this property through their official positions at the United States Property and Fiscal Office warehouse in Buckhannon. The crimes took place from August 2010 to October 2017 in Upshur County.

“In very short layman’s terms, these gentlemen were in charge of restoring and refurbishing old, used equipment and things of that nature,” said Attorney Tom Dyer, who represented Russell Morgan in court. “They did that for years, and a lot of the equipment they donated to charity, but a few pieces along the way they restored, took back to their own properties and used them personally.”

Shane Morgan was represented by the Public Defender’s Office.

The men admitted to stealing at least 80 items of United States government property worth an estimated total of more than $80,000.

“A couple of the items were fairly significant — a small skid steer, a Polaris and some other things that had some relatively significant value,” Dyer said.

Dyer said the government now has a majority of the stolen property back in its possession.

“The total loss is about $11,000 or $12,000 now, but I think that the agreement with the government that the value of the property that had been taken over this entire period of time was somewhere between $40,000 and $90,000,” he said.

Both men each face up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

“Otherwise these were two guys who had stellar military careers. They’re decorated veterans,” Dyer said. “It’s kind of a shame, but they just made some poor decisions about the work they’d been entrusted to do.”

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