Florida executives head to prison for selling sub-par body armor to US troops
The company "endangered the lives and safety of our country's heroes who are courageously serving overseas to protect the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic," prosecutors wrote
The owner and a top executive of a Boynton Beach-based security products firm have both been sentenced to less than a year in prison after being convicted of charges of selling sub-par body armor to the U.S. government.
Dan Thomas Lounsbury, Jr., owner of Tactical Products Group, was sentenced to 10 months in prison last week for selling the government $3,500 worth of body armor that federal prosecutors said put troops in danger.
Andres Lopez-Munoz, vice president of sales and federal contracting for the company that had a retail store on Corporate Drive, was handed a four-month sentence. Both men agreed to reimburse the government for the money it paid for the 10 suits of armor.
Both were convicted in February by a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, of three counts of wire fraud along with charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and making false statements.
Saying the men demonstrated “callous and reckless disregard for the lives and safety of U.S. personnel in the field,” federal prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga to send both Lounsbury and Lopez-Munoz to prison for three years.
“He engaged in a potentially catastrophic deadly game by vowing to supply the U.S. Government with a specific type of body armor and instead deliberately provided them falsely-labeled, out-of-warranty, cheaper body armor,” assistant U.S. attorneys Raj Parekh and Grace Hill wrote of Lopez-Munoz. They made similar comments about Lounsbury.
Attorneys for the two men disputed the prosecutors' characterization. Neither Lounsbury, of West Palm Beach, or Lopez-Munoz, who lives in Boynton, knew that they were supplying armor to the U.S. Department of Defense that would be used to protect soldiers, their attorneys said in court papers.
In the past, the company worked as a subcontractor, supplying armor to the U.S. State Department. In those cases, the armor was used by “foreign militaries or police forces,” wrote attorney Stuart Sears, who represented Lopez-Munoz.
In those cases, the prime contractors “routinely accepted and sought lower cost substitutes for the requested products, including body armor and other tactical gear,” Sears wrote.
Prosecutors countered that the men went to great lengths to hide their misdeeds by having fake labels sewn in the armor to make it appear it met the government's specifications.
Lounsbury and Lopez-Munoz “endangered the lives and safety of our country's heroes who are courageously serving overseas to protect the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic,” they wrote.
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