Prosecutors and the defense have recommended probation for an Old Orchard Beach man who recently pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing scrap metal from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery when he worked there and then selling it for profit. Tammy Wells/Journal Tribune file photo

PORTLAND — An Old Orchard Beach man pleaded guilty at U.S. District Court in Portland on June 2 to stealing scrap metal from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery when he worked there as a civilian employee.

Michael Gamash, 64, was charged with two counts of theft of government property, and could be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but an agreement worked out between the prosecution and defense will recommend to a federal judge that he be sentenced to probation. The agreement, on file at the court, cites “recognition of defendant’s extraordinary acceptance of responsibility and his lessening the burden on the court system by pleading guilty in advance of normalization of court operations,” among other factors, including waiving his right to appeal his guilty plea.

According to court records, from about April 2014 to June 2016, Gamash took scrap metal belonging to the U.S. Navy from dumpsters at PSNY and sold it to two area metal dealers.

During the probe, personnel from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service marked some of the metal in dumpsters on PNSY, to see if they could identify metal that Gamash subsequently removed and sold. Information provided by one of the scrap metal dealers showed that Gamash had sold several pieces of metal that had been marked for identification.

When investigators interviewed Gamash, he admitted routinely taking scrap metal items from several dumpsters at PNSY and selling it to dealers in Arundel and Portland. Court records show Gamash acknowledged to Navy investigators he knew it was illegal to take the metal and sell it for his personal profit. In total, he received approximately $60,000 for the metal he took from PNSY, prosecutors said.

In his interview with NCIS investigators, court records show, Gamash stated that the “stashed” scrap metal within the first-floor tool room of a building at PNSY, so he could retrieve it and sell it later.

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