Former US Customs officer at Florida airport admits to stealing nearly ,000 from passengers

A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer at Florida’s Naples Airport has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $19,000 in cash from arriving international passengers, prosecutors say.  

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida announced this week that William Timothy, a 43-year-old from Ave Maria, now faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. 

“According to the plea agreement, between mid-2023 and early-2024, Timothy stole approximately $18,700 in cash from airline passengers during 17 incidents of theft uncovered by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigators,” the Office said in a statement. 

“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,” they added. 

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Prosecutors say as part of the plea agreement, “Timothy has agreed to pay full restitution to the victims of his thefts, and he has further agreed to immediately resign from his employment with CBP.” 

A sentencing hearing has not yet been set. 

A criminal complaint filed in the case said that in May 2023, Timothy conducted a “border enforcement examination and currency verification” of an “international airline passenger who traveled on a private aircraft from the Bahamas” that arrived at Naples Airport. 

The passenger later noticed that around $2,200 was missing from the currency he had passed to Timothy during the process, according to the complaint. 

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection logo

The complaint added that surveillance video reviewed by investigators showed Timothy placing “three stacks of bills aside, which he did not return” to the passenger. 

“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.” 

Naples Airport entrance sign in Florida

        

The criminal complaint was filed in January of this year, and said that “to date, Timothy has filed no report or documentation which would serve to justify any seizure of cash” from that passenger. 

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