BONNEY LAKE, WA — A respiratory therapist working at Seattle's Veterans Affairs Medical Center pleaded guilty Monday to stealing a ventilator and other federally-owned COVID-19 supplies from the hospital, then selling them on eBay for personal gain, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors said Gene Wamsley, 41, of Bonney Lake, admitted he stole the ventilator, three bronchoscopes and other medical equipment from his place of work between January and April. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the three bronchoscopes are valued over $100,000 and were sold for just $15,750 to a buyer in Florida. When investigators searched Wamsley's home in June, detectives seized another bronchoscope and a sleep apnea device, all stolen from the Seattle hospital, prosecutors said.
Investigators also learned of a respirator, valued at $10,000, that was sold to an Ohio man for $6,000. Prosecutors estimated the total value of the stolen items to be above $132,000.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the federal theft charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. A judge will hand down a formal sentence in early January.