Sam Brinton, a disgraced ex-high-ranking employee at the Department of Energy (DOE), avoided jail time this week for a grand theft case from July last year.
Nevada court records show that Brinton was fined $500 and ordered to reimburse the victim $3,670.74.
Clark County Judge Ann Zimmerman then issued a non-custodial 180-day suspended jail sentence to Brinton with the admonition to “keep out of trouble.”
In exchange for his guilty plea, Brinton’s charges were reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. The ex-official had previously entered a “no contest” plea to the allegations, waiving his right to a trial.
At the Harry Reid Airport in Vegas, Brinton was accused on July 6 of stealing luggage valued at $3,670. The bag had $1,700 in jewelry, $850 in apparel, and $500 in cosmetics. After four days, the woman still hadn’t found the bag she’d checked with United Airlines, so she went to the police.
According to the warrant, a police officer from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department “saw multiple nonverbal indicators, or body language anomalies, from the subject that drew his interest” after viewing surveillance footage.
Brinton took the victim’s bag off the luggage carousel and checked the tag. Then they carefully returned it to the carousel while scanning the area for onlookers. The suspect “removed it from the carousel, examined it, and then left immediately,” according to the warrant.
At least twice more, Brinton was seen with the suitcase, and he admitted to investigators that he had taken it to them, but he argued that it was all a mistake and that the luggage could be returned with its contents.
The 35-year-old was a deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Nuclear Energy. He managed waste disposal.
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced Brinton’s retirement from the agency on the 12th of December, but they declined to elaborate on the reason for his leave in light of the accusations brought against him in Minnesota and Nevada.