Dallas man pleads guilty to AAFES jewelry theft

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  • By Department of Justice
  • Office of Public Affairs
Arthur Lee Hightower, II, a Dallas man who was on the lam for more than seven months following his indictment in May 2015 for his role in a jewelry theft scheme that targeted the Army and Air Force Exchange Services, is in custody, and pleaded guilty Feb. 25 to the scheme, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

The case was investigated by agents of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis is prosecuting.

Hightower II, 56, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Horan, to one count of theft of government property. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution could also be ordered. Sentencing is set for July 11, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay.

In May 2015, Hightower and his former wife, Jessie Faye Hightower, aka "Jessie Faye Lewis," 55, of Balch Springs, Texas, and their two sons, Arthur Lee Hightower III, 34, of Lancaster, Texas, and Travoine Lee Hightower, 31, of Dallas, were charged in a federal indictment with felony offenses stemming from a scheme they ran to steal nearly $100,000 in wedding ring sets from AAFES.

Jessie Fay Hightower and Arthur Lee Hightower III have each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to receive stolen government property. Travoine Lee Hightower pleaded guilty to one count of receiving stolen government property.

According to plea documents filed in the case, Hightower II worked as a truck driver, and part of his duties included delivering AAFES merchandise to the AAFES offices in Dallas. On Oct. 3, 2014, Hightower II, who was responsible for safeguarding the merchandise, did not deliver all of it. Instead, he stole approximately 70 wedding ring sets from AAFES.

Hightower II admitted he gave several of the wedding ring sets to his co-defendant family members so they could pawn the stolen jewelry to obtain cash.