A former Air Force firearms instructor was convicted this week of embezzling government funds and unlicensed dealing in firearms, authorities say.
Timothy John Arnold, 43, was found guilty earlier this week by a federal jury on nine charges relating to the embezzlement and conversion of federal funds, the unauthorized disposition of federal property and unlicensed manufacturing and dealing in firearms.
"Members of our Armed Services protect our country, our communities and our way of life," said U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver. "In this day of tight budgets and constricted funding, it is more important than ever that every taxpayer dollar meant for our military be utilized to the fullest extent, particularly when meant for training designed to protect the lives of those who protect us."
Arnold was an instructor of Firearms and Tactics for the U.S. Air Force Special Investigations Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center at Glynco, Ga., from 2005 to 2011.
According to evidence presented at the trial, Arnold used a government credit card and government contract purchasing orders to buy large numbers of firearms parts and other unauthorized items, totaling more than $400,000 over a five-year period.
U.S. attorneys said Arnold retained some government property for himself and sold, traded away or gave away other government property. Arnold used the firearms parts he purchased with Air Force funds to manufacture customized AR-15-style rifles, which Arnold then sold to individuals who had ordered the rifles from him, authorities said.
In connection with his unlicensed manufacturing and dealing in firearms, attorneys said Arnold was also convicted for the unlawful interstate transportation of the receivers necessary to build the rifles, which receivers had not been acquired in conformity with the law.
"We will vigorously prosecute the theft for private gain of federal funds and government property. Our district is the home of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, where the criminal investigators for 96 federal agencies are trained," said Tarver. "The integrity of its programs is of great importance to our nation and we will continue to do all we can to preserve its effectiveness through criminal prosecution of those who would steal government money and property to their own gain."