BURLINGTON — A Chittenden man might serve 15 months in federal prison after pleading guilty Thursday to one count of mail fraud for allegedly ordering items for the the military, keeping them and reselling them on the internet.
Ammon Yule, 42, who had been a supply sergeant for the Vermont National Guard stationed at the Rutland Armory, was arraigned in federal court in April on three counts of embezzling taxpayer property and three counts of mail fraud.
Yule entered a plea agreement Thursday under which five of the six charges would be dropped when Yule is sentenced.
While Yule entered a guilty plea, his plea will not be accepted until he is sentenced, which is scheduled for March 2. A pre-sentence report will be created before March.
The plea agreement filed in the case called for a sentence of no more than 15 months.
According to the indictment filed against Yule in March, Yule served as a supply sergeant at the Post Road site known as the Rutland Armory.
Yule was a member of the National Guard who was authorized to order equipment and uniforms from the Kentucky Logistics Operations Center, where National Guard supplies were stored and where they were shipped from.
By March 2017 and continuing until March 2018, Yule operated a scheme by which he obtained guard uniforms and equipment illegally, intercepted the items as they reached Rutland and sold them, using the website eBay.com.
The indictment described the operation of the scheme as Yule ordering items like such as parkas and duffel bags as part of his duties as a supply sergeant. When the items arrived in Rutland, Yule would intercept the items and remove them.
“To conceal the scheme to defraud and to explain the arrival of large quantities of goods addressed to him at the Rutland Armory, Yule represented that he used the address of the Rutland Armory as a business address for personal online shopping,” the indictment said.
Yule would claim the items he ordered from the Kentucky center were either going to members of the Vermont National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves, or had already gone to them.
The indictment said Yule had tried to prevent others working at the Rutland Armory from obtaining bills of lading from those shipments he had arranged in order to take those particular supplies and sell them for his own benefit.
Investigators found records of some of the items that had been listed for sale on eBay.
“Certain of these descriptions indicated that the items Yule offered for sale were new, official U.S. government-issue uniform items,” the indictment said.
Yule was charged with mail fraud because he shipped the items sold from Vermont to customers throughout the United States and to other countries using the U.S. Postal Service or other private or commercial delivery vendors.
The indictment included three counts of embezzling and three counts of mail fraud based on three specific incidents: A shipment on March 24, 2017, that included about 40 duffel bags; a shipment on April 21, 2017, that included almost 50 parkas; and a shipment on March 6, 2018, that included more than 65 pairs of boots and almost 50 parkas.
After his arraignment, Yule faced up to 20 years in prison and an additional three years under supervised release.
According to the pleas agreement, Yule caused a loss to the military of more than $150,000. The plea agreement does not provide an estimated amount for restitution but says Yule “understands that he has a continuing obligation to pay in full as soon as possible any financial obligation imposed by the court.”
According to court records, Yule was released from custody, as he had been after arraignment, until his sentencing hearing.