Ex-Navy Dare Range Manager Pleads Guilty to Accepting Illegal

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- The former range manager of the Navy Dare bombing range has pleaded guilty to accepting illegal kickbacks and selling excess government equipment to scrappers.

Harry Mann, 79, of Manns Harbor, N.C., pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to accepting illegal gratuities while employed by the Navy at the Dare County Bombing Range.

The range provides air warfare training support for the Navy and Marine Corps. Mann had worked at the range since 1968, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

As range manager, Mann's duties included constructing and maintaining the targets for aviators to practice dropping inert bombs and firing live rounds of ammunition.

Between 2005 and 2011, Mann requested $16 million in excess government property including trucks, bulldozers, trailers and cranes, according to the DOJ statement.

He received it through a DOD office that monitors the excess property and sells it to the public or sends it for use in humanitarian aid worldwide.

Mann sold the property without authorization to local metal scrappers, who in turn paid him a percentage of the profits. The scrappers told law enforcement they paid Mann around $175,000 in kickbacks.

A government proffer for Mann said he demanded that the men pay him in cash so others could not witness the payments, inluding one cash payment of $16,300 at his home in May 2011.

The Navy was first alerted of the criminal activity by inspectors from the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles after they witnessed the transportation of heavy pieces of equipment in Edenton, according to the DOJ statement.

Mann faces a maximum of two years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or twice what he made in kickbacks, restitution, one year of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.

He will be sentenced in January.

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