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Ex-US navy engineer pleads guilty to espionage

The maximum prison sentence the defendant may face is a term of not more than life in prison along with a fine of not more than $100,000 and up to five years of supervised release, according to the filing.

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Washington: Former US Navy engineer Jonathan Toebbe pleaded guilty on Monday to trying to sell classified information regarding nuclear submarines and may possibly face a sentence of life in prison, a court filing revealed.

“It is agreed between the United States and your client as follows: Toebbe will plead guilty to Count One of the Indictment, Conspiracy to Communicate Restricted Data, in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Sections 2274(a) and 2014,” the filing by US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia, signed by Toebbe and his lawyer, said on Monday.

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The maximum prison sentence the defendant may face is a term of not more than life in prison along with a fine of not more than $100,000 and up to five years of supervised release, according to the filing. In October 2021, Toebbe and his wife Diana were charged with espionage for the alleged sale of military secrets obtained through his job as a US Navy nuclear engineer to what they believed was a foreign government rather than an FBI sting operation.

The parties also agreed to a binding term of imprisonment within the range of 151 to 210 months in accordance to US federal law, the filing said. “Each party may request a sentence anywhere within this range. The Court will determine the amount of the supervised release and any fine,” the filing added.

Toebbe agreed to provide the authorities access to all of his electronic devices and accounts so the federal officials can locate the $100,000 the FBI paid him in the cryptocurrency Monero in exchange for the secrets he wanted to sell, according to the filing. 

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