Jail inmate sentenced for trying to steal $3 million of heavy equipment while still in jail

GORDON COUNTY, Ga. — Federal authorities sentenced a northwest Georgia man charged with running a scheme to steal nearly $3 million of heavy equipment while he was locked up in jail.

Damon Thomas Young, has been serving a 20-year sentence at the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville after being convicted of assaulting a police officer and 10 years for violating the state’s Racketeer, Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

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Young also has prior convictions of theft by taking, impersonating a public officer, arson, forgery, burglary and arson along with theft by deception and was not eligible to be released from jail before June of 2030. Young had been sentenced on the assault and the RICO charges in 2010 and has been in prison ever since.

Officials said this time, while Young was serving his sentence, began using a contraband cellphone in 2019 to try defrauding multiple heavy equipment dealers out of millions of dollars worth of equipment. They said Young was using the alias Morgan Sylvia and claimed he was a purchasing officer with AbbVie, a real biopharmaceutical company. They said he would then order the heavy construction equipment which would be delivered in and around Ranger, Georgia where he and his family lived claiming that the company was building a facility in Ranger..

Officials said that equipment, would then be put up for sale on Craigslist.

Young was able to acquire a variety of construction equipment by communicating with the dealers via phone, text and email while still in prison. He was able to complete credit applications, purchase orders, sales contracts and insurance documents which he would send back to the dealers as part of the scheme. Officials said he was also able to send the dealers a fraudulent corporate resolution document allegedly signed by company officers, but those signatures were in fact forged.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Young was able to order nearly $3 million of equipment from six different dealers. They said most of the dealers were able to catch the fraud before shipping the equipment but Young was still able to get four pieces sent to him with a value of over $500,000. He was able to sell some of the equipment online and use the money to purchase two Chevy trucks. The Gordon County Sheriff’s Office was able to recover all the stolen and sold equipment.





A federal judge sentenced Young to seven years in prison for this crime followed by three years of supervised released and the judge has ordered him to pay back $30,000 to the online purchaser of the stolen equipment.

The judge also said the new sentence will run concurrently with the state sentence he’s currently serving.

“Young schemed to steal millions of dollars’ worth of heavy equipment while serving a sentence for assaulting a police officer,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “Inmates should not think that the crimes they commit from prison will go unpunished just because they are already incarcerated. As in this case, inmates who commit crimes from behind bars face additional federal prison time to be served after their state sentences end.”

“The use of contraband cell phones by inmates as a tool to continue carrying out crimes from behind the walls of our facilities will not be tolerated,” said Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Timothy C. Ward. “We are grateful to our law enforcement partners on every level for ensuring justice is served on this individual for his role in jeopardizing both the safe and secure operations of our facilities and the safety of the public.”

“We are very pleased that this matter has been brought to a successful conclusion through the combined efforts of our partners in state and federal government, and ourselves. This was a massive and complex investigation that required the best efforts of all the officers, agents and prosecutors assigned to the case. My congratulations to each investigative agency and to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for all of their hard work,” Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston said.

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