Former gov’t contractor gets time for stealing laptops, selling them on Craig’s List

Man faces prison for stealing government laptops

WASHINGTON — A former technology contractor was sentenced Monday to a year and a half in prison for stealing at least 83 government laptops from the federal office where he worked and selling them on Craig’s List.

Darryl Lyles, a 37-year-old from Capitol Heights, Md., also has to pay back more than $180,000 to compensate for the lost laptops, but prosecutors said the loss was even greater. Because of Lyles’ crime, the small contractor that he worked for — RGB Technology Inc. of Herndon, Va. — said it lost its contract with the Government Accountability Office and had to lay off 12 employees that worked on the account.

Lyles told the court that many of those who lost jobs were his friends, and every day he thinks of how he let them down and disappointed his two children and the rest of his loved ones. “I’m still having a hard time looking them in the eye,” Lyles said.

Lyles worked as an information technology analyst at the GAO headquarters and was responsible for issuing and retrieving employee computers. Lyles pleaded guilty in December to theft of government property, admitting that in 2006 and 2007 he took 89 laptops and other IT equipment and then sold at least 83 of the computers on the online classified site Craig’s List.

Prosecutors asked that Lyles be sentenced to two years — the maximum recommendation under their plea deal — pointing out that the theft was from all taxpayers and that Lyles has twice tested positive for marijuana while awaiting sentencing.

Lyles’ attorney said his client stole the equipment because he was under financial pressure after his wife was sentenced to prison and left him as a single father to their son and daughter. He said he used the drugs because of the increased pressure of the case and because the court never specifically told him not to.

The judge lectured Lyles for using drugs but said he was giving him the lower sentence because it’s important that he get out and parent his children. The judge ordered that Lyles be incarcerated as close as possible to Connecticut, where his children will be staying with their uncle.

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