Seattle respiratory therapist charged with stealing COVID-19 supplies from VA hospital

A respiratory therapist who worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Seattle was charged June 17 with theft of government property for allegedly stealing respiratory equipment from the hospital and selling it on eBay. 

Between January and June, Gene Wamsley, a 41-year-old man from Bonney Lake, Wash., allegedly stole and sold ventilators, bronchoscopes and other respiratory support equipment from the hospital. 

An investigation began in January when the hospital reported two bronchoscopes missing. Staff at the hospital noticed bronchoscopes listed for sale on eBay from a seller in the area, and the investigation linked the sales to Mr. Wamsley, the Justice Department said. 

Police seized medical supplies and eBay records from Mr. Wamsley's home on June 9. A review of the eBay records showed he sold five ventilators in March and April, as well as other respiratory support equipment, the Justice Department said. 

"Right now respiratory support equipment is critical in medical care for those suffering with COVID-19 infections. To steal and sell equipment needed to care for our veterans is a shocking betrayal," said U.S. Attorney Brian Moran.

Theft of government property is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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