Federal Officer Pleads Guilty to Stealing Cash From Passengers at Florida Airport

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
June 20, 2024US News
Federal Officer Pleads Guilty to Stealing Cash From Passengers at Florida Airport
International travelers wait in line to speak with a CBP officer as they arrive at Miami International Airport in Miami, Fla., on March 4, 2015. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $19,000 from passengers at a Florida airport while on duty.

William Joseph Timothy, 43, entered his plea on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Fort Myers to one count of an officer or employee of the United States converting the property of another.

According to the complaint that led to the charge, a passenger traveling on a private jet from the Bahamas reported that $2,200 in cash was missing after it had been inspected by a CBP officer at Naples Airport in May 2023. The passenger identified Mr. Timothy as the officer who conducted the border enforcement examination and currency verification.

Federal law states that the transport of any currency above $10,000 must be reported to CBP upon a traveler’s arrival into the United States. An inspecting CBP officer must determine the accuracy of a traveler’s declared amount by performing a currency verification.

The CBP Office of Professional Responsibility launched an investigation into the incident. During its probe, surveillance video showed the passenger gave a stack of money to Mr. Timothy for inspection.

“After setting aside approximately 22 bills — which are all believed to be $100 bills — Timothy also appears to place Customs Declarations forms on top of the currency, in what is believed to be an effort to conceal the cash he took from Passenger #1,” the complaint says.

“After Passenger #1 departs, Timothy can be seen retrieving the Customs Declaration forms – and the cash concealed underneath – and walking away from the camera,” the court document states.

Mr. Timothy “never filed a report or documentation which would serve to justify any seizure of cash” from the passenger, according to the complaint.

Throughout the course of their probe, investigators found that Mr. Timothy stole a total of approximately $18,700 in cash from airline passengers during 17 incidents of theft between mid-2023 and early-2024.

“Evidence collected during the investigation showed that Timothy was surreptitiously stealing cash from arriving international passengers during border enforcement examinations and currency verifications performed as part of his official duties as an assigned CBP Officer at Naples Airport,” according to the Justice Department statement.

As part of the plea deal, Mr. Timothy has agreed to pay full restitution to the victims of his thefts. He further agreed to immediately resign from his employment with CBP.

Mr. Timothy faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The plea agreement did not outline a specific guideline range for sentencing, but prosecutors indicated that reduced adjustments would be made if conditions were met.

A lawyer listed as representing Mr. Timothy did not immediately respond to NTD News’ request for comment on Tuesday.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.