Federal agent pleads guilty to firearms charge

A special agent of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pleaded guilty Monday to possessing stolen firearms.

Clifford Dean Posey, 43, of Chesapeake, also pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, embezzlement, making false statements and money laundering that occurred in the course of his official duties.

His right foot bandaged and using crutches, Posey made the pleas to U.S. Magistrate Judge M. Hannah Lauck. He will be sentenced July 22 by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne.

He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years for wire fraud, 10 years for embezzlement, 10 years for possession of a stolen firearm, five years for the false-statement charge and 20 years for money laundering.

His lawyer, William McMillan Powers, told Lauck on Monday that Posey will tender his resignation to the bureau shortly.

Timothy J. Heaphy, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, said, “Investigator Posey broke the law and became a criminal — the same kind of criminal he was sworn to investigate. Greed drove him to commit these crimes, which were motivated by his desire to enrich himself.”

Joseph Mott, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of Virginia, is prosecuting the case. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where Posey worked, withdrew from the case.

In a nine-page statement of facts signed by Posey, he admitted, among other things, to falsifying documents about firearms he had under his control so he could convert them to his own use or sell.

He also admitted that last year, assisting in the investigation of illegal cigarette trafficking, he obtained the access code to a storage unit containing cigarettes intended for use in undercover tobacco investigations.

Last May he contacted two targets of an investigation and offered to undercut the price undercover bureau agents had negotiated — actions he was not authorized to take and that he failed to disclose as required.

Then, beginning last July, Posey, using the undercover name of “Chris Dallas,” was the lead case agent in another undercover tobacco investigation and entrusted with the custody and control of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

“He used the proceeds (from wire fraud and embezzlement) for various purposes that were not authorized by ATF officials, including payments of a Chevrolet Suburban and tithing to his church,” says the statement of facts.

His misconduct came to light when he traveled out of town on separate ATF business last October and he left an undercover phone with officers of the Hampton Police Department who used it to continue to promote the undercover sales of cigarettes.

The police learned from a target of the investigation that he had been doing business with Posey.

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