BALTIMORE, MD – A Laurel man has pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars worth of goods while working as a Senior Manager at the FedEx facility in Seaford.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 43-year-old Joseph Kukta of Laurel, Delaware pleaded guilty on Thursday to federal charges of interstate transportation of stolen goods and tax evasion. The DOJ says Kukta worked as a Senior Manager at the FedEx facility in Seaford from 2007 through July 30, 2019. He was responsible for overseeing all operation aspects of the facility and supervised over 100 employees and contractors.
According to his plea agreement, from 2009 to 2019, Kukta would steal packages that contained bulk retail goods and merchandise shipped by suppliers including Sony Electronics, Panasonic, Apple. Investigators say he would then sell them to a person living in Colorado for approximately 50% of the item’s retail price. Kutka would then reportedly transport the stolen items to the Colorado person’s father in Maryland. The DOJ says from 2009 through 2019, Kutka received payments totaling more than $1.8 million for merchandise worth approximately $3.6 million that was stolen from FedEx.
Authorities say Kukta went to the FedEx facility on Sundays, holidays, or other times when employees were not around and removed the packages he previously identified from the FedEx trailers. Kukta reportedly tried to avoid getting caught by turning off the lights and blocking certain surveillance cameras with cardboard boxes and other objects. The Department of Justice says Kukta would then load the stolen packages into his car and then drive to his rented storage unit in Seaford, where he unloaded and stored the stolen items.
Kutka reportedly admitted he evaded paying income taxes on the proceeds of the scheme by failing to report that income on his annual joint federal income tax returns. The 43-year-old faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for interstate transportation of stolen goods and a maximum of five years in federal prison for tax evasion. Kukta is scheduled to be sentenced June 18th, 2020.