Probation ordered for Janesville man convicted in theft from Veterans Administration

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Kevin Murphy/Special to The Gazette
Thursday, March 27, 2014

MADISON--A Janesville man was placed on two years probation Thursday in federal court, fined $500 and ordered to make restitution for stealing medical devices from the Veterans Administration valued at $14,444.

Peter J. Crandall, 44, was a VA account coordinator for a Watertown-based health care equipment company when he sold eight continuous positive airway pressure breathing devices to a California company, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Burke said.

The devices belonged to the VA and were stored in Crandall's employer's warehouse when he sold them online under the name Peter James between Dec. 29, 2011, and April 19, 2012, according to a court document.

When the California firm resold the devices, VA authorities became suspicious about the ownership of the equipment, Burke said. A VA investigation lead to Crandall being charged with theft. He later pleaded guilty.

Crandall's cooperation lead to the recovery of six of the eight machines.

The devices are used to treat sleep apnea, a condition that interrupts airflow to the lungs while a person is asleep.

Crandall's attorney, Erika Bierma, asked for a one-day sentence with credit for time served, saying the offense was poorly planned and executed and  “merely an aberrant, uncharacteristic and impulsive decision.”

Crandall took the machines to buy insulin and other needed medications and to provide for his daughter, Bierma wrote the court in a pre-sentencing memorandum.

He regretted his decision upon mailing the first package but could not figure out how to retrieve it, Bierma wrote.

Although he faced statutory maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and three years supervised release, District Judge Barbara Crabb placed Crandall on probation noting his lack of prior convictions and his cooperation with authorities.

Crabb ordered Crandall pay $6,939 in restitution.

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