A former Navy nuclear engineer admitted in federal courtroom on Monday that he tried to promote delicate secrets and techniques about nuclear-powered warships to a international nation.
Jonathan Toebbe, 43, pleaded responsible in federal courtroom in West Virginia to conspiring to speak restricted information, admitting to U.S. Justice of the Peace Choose Robert Trumble that he had sought to promote U.S. secrets and techniques “in change for fee with the intent to injure the USA.” Beneath his take care of federal prosecutors, he faces a sentence of roughly between 12 and 17 years in jail. No sentencing date has been set.
“Among the many secrets and techniques the U.S. authorities most zealously protects are these associated to the design of its nuclear-powered warships,” Assistant Atty Gen. Matthew G. Olsen mentioned in an announcement. “The defendant was entrusted with a few of these secrets and techniques and as a substitute of guarding them, he betrayed the belief positioned in him and conspired to promote them to a different nation for private revenue.”
Toebbe additionally agreed to show over all delicate authorities info in his possession, and to return about $100,000 in cryptocurrency that the undercover FBI agent paid him in change for the extremely restricted info.
The Annapolis, Md., man and his spouse, Diana, had been arrested in October after a yearlong FBI sting investigation by which the couple believed they had been promoting secrets and techniques to a international authorities. An legal professional for Toebbe didn’t reply to an electronic mail searching for remark.
Toebbe’s plea didn’t resolve the costs involving his spouse.
Toebbe served as a nuclear engineer within the Navy and had a safety clearance that gave him entry to secrets and techniques in regards to the propulsion programs of nuclear-powered warships.
In April 2020, the FBI alleged, the Toebbes despatched a package deal to a international authorities that contained secret authorities info and directions on the right way to contact him. The federal government, which was not recognized in courtroom papers, forwarded the knowledge to the FBI and the company started its undercover sting operation in December of that yr.
An FBI agent, pretending to be a consultant of the international authorities, started months of electronic mail correspondence with Toebbe searching for to rearrange the sale of U.S. secrets and techniques, based on courtroom papers.
In June, the spy despatched $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Toebbe as a “good religion fee,” courtroom papers allege. Just a few weeks later, courtroom papers say, Toebbe and his spouse traveled to an organized “useless drop” location in West Virginia, the place he left an information card hidden in a peanut butter sandwich. His spouse allegedly stood as lookout.
The spy despatched Toebbe $20,000 in cryptocurrency in change for the knowledge, which contained info on submarine nuclear reactors, courtroom papers mentioned.
The spy paid Toebbe $70,000 in cryptocurrency in change in August for an additional information card, this time hid in a chewing gum package deal left at a “useless drop” in Virginia.
He and his spouse had been arrested by the FBI and the Navy’s Felony Investigation Service in West Virginia on October 9 as they dropped off extra authorities secrets and techniques.