Veteran Police Officer Sentenced for Federal Firearms and Mail Fraud Violations
BEAUMONT, Texas – A 56-year-old veteran peace officer has been sentenced to federal prison for firearms and mail fraud violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Harry Leroy Kelley, of Kingwood, Texas, was found guilty by a jury on Feb. 3, 2011, of possession of stolen ammunition and two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.
According to information presented in court, from 1992 to 2009, Kelley served almost exclusively as a police officer for the Cleveland Police Department in Liberty County, Texas, and for a short time in 2009, as a captain with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. During a portion of that time, Kelley had control over Cleveland Police Department’s firing range and at least 100,000 rounds of 40 caliber hollow-point semi-automatic ammunition. Those rounds had been specifically manufactured for use by law enforcement officers and were provided to Kelley for use by federal agents who were required to qualify at the firing range. Instead of using the rounds of ammunition for the intended purpose of qualifying Cleveland Police Department law enforcement officers at the range, Kelley instead converted the ammunition for his own use by exchanging it for 86 new weapons which he could sell through his business, K Ventures, and providing some of that same ammunition to customers who purchased new firearms from K Ventures.
Kelley was also convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud specifically related to when he was employed as a Captain with the Cleveland Policed Department. In early 2008, Kelley devised a scheme to purchase six Glock training pistols from Glock, Inc. These specially crafted pistols, which are designed to fire non-lethal type projectiles called "simunition," are intended for use as training aids and available only for purchase by law enforcement agencies. Kelley agreed to purchase the pistols for a non-law enforcement individual by ordering the items on Cleveland Police Department stationary and falsely stating the pistols were being purchased by Cleveland Police Department for use by that agency when in fact, Kelley did not have authority to make the purchase and intended to turn the items over to the non-law enforcement individual.
The second conviction of conspiracy to commit mail fraud is from when Kelley was employed as a Captain with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. In early 2009, Kelley devised a scheme to purchase six laser sights from Insight Technology. The sale of these laser sights were restricted to government, military and law enforcement agencies and not to be transferred to individual law enforcement or civilian personnel. Again, Kelley agreed to purchase the laser sights for a non-law enforcement individual by ordering the items on behalf of the Liberty County Sheriff's Office and falsely stating the laser sights were being purchased by the Liberty County Sheriff's Office for use by that agency when in fact, Kelley did not have authority to make the purchase and intended to turn the items over to the non-law enforcement individual.
Kelley was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 4, 2010 and charged with federal firearms violations and mail fraud.
This case was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, ammunition and body armor, and improving the safety of residents in the Eastern District of Texas. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
This case was investigated by the ATF, the Texas Rangers and the Cleveland Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John A. Craft and Joseph R. Batte.