Associated Press

A Veterans Affairs supply manager in south Mississippi made more than $50,000 stealing and selling medical masks during the coronavirus pandemic, federal prosecutors say.

Court records show Chad Paul Jacob, 54, of Saucier, Mississippi, pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft of government property. Sentencing is set for Dec. 7, and he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Jacob has been assistant chief of supply chain management for the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, according to a news release from Darren J. LaMarca, who is acting U.S. attorney for south Mississippi, and Jeffrey A. Breen, special agent in charge of a field office for the VA Office of Inspector General.

The release said that from 2009 until late 2020, Jacob stole personal protective equipment, electronics and medical equipment from the VA and resold it local pawn shops and on his personal eBay account. The release said that in addition to making more than $50,000 selling stolen N95 masks, Jacob made more than $9,000 selling stolen iPads and iPhones.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, the VA Office of Inspector General has aggressively investigated the increasing and evolving threat posed by COVID-19-related fraud and criminal activity,” Breen said in the release. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates our ongoing work to stop those who take advantage of public health emergencies to perpetrate such frauds.”