Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mariners' Museum archivist sentenced to four years in prison

Yesterday, the former archivist at the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia, was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing records and selling them online:
Lester F. Weber, of Newport News, sold at least 3,500 documents — from collections he was supposed to oversee — on eBay under his wife's name. The items included everything from brochures and boarding passes for old ships to a lawsuit against the company that owned the Titanic.

Weber made $172,357 on the fraudulent sales between 2002 and 2006, according to court filings. But the museum estimates the worth of the stolen items at more than $500,000.
Noting that Weber had violated the public trust and that his crimes had taken place over a long period of time, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith gave him a 48-month sentence instead of the 33-41 month sentence recommended in the federal sentencing guidelines.

Weber's wife, Lori E. Childs, was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment for filing a false tax return.

I'm glad that the Judge Smith is among the growing number of jurists who recognize that the theft of records is not a trivial offense, and I hope that Weber's former colleagues are actively supporting one another as they come to grips with the personal and professional ramifications of his deeds. My colleagues and I know exactly how they feel.

1 comment:

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