A federal agent lost his job after his addiction to baseball cards landed him moonlighting for Amazon

It’s a cautionary tale for anyone whose collecting habit may have gotten a little out of control.

A former federal agent has had his career skyrocketed after he was caught using his moonlit government car as an Amazon and Uber driver to help sustain his baseball card addiction.

Sean M. Nelson, 44, of Mesa, Ariz., was sentenced this week to two years probation and ordered to repay $134,000 that the government claimed he embezzled working his side gigs while on the job.

Nelson had been a Department of Homeland Security special agent for more than a decade in Arizona when his finances and marriage began to crumble due to his uncontrollable habit of buying baseball cards, court documents show.

Psychologists classify uncontrollable collecting as a type of behavioral addiction, similar to compulsive gambling, eating, video games, shopping, or sex addiction. An addiction to collecting could manifest itself in the purchase of anything from fine art to model trains.

Starting in 2019, Nelson started working on the side delivering packages for Amazon AMZN,
and drive passengers for services like Uber UBER,
and Elevator ELEVATOR,
to help pay off his spiraling credit card debts, according to the documents.

The financial strain of his habit of collecting put a heavy strain on his marriage and led him and his wife to attend couples’ counseling, records show.

Federal prosecutors say that for the next two years, Nelson, a father of four, regularly held his other jobs while on the meter as an investigator, during which time he frequently used his car issued by the government to deliver parcels and a ferry ride. share passengers. He also made the government pay for the gas.

He was indicted in October and immediately pleaded guilty to a charge of theft of government property, according to court records. As part of his plea, Nelson agreed to resign from his position.

“As a result of the conviction, Mr. Nelson lost much of his salary during the period of his criminal activity on the job, and as a federal criminal, he will never legally own or use a firearm again. “said Gary Restaino, the U.S. attorney for Arizona. “His dereliction of duty was a great disservice to his hard-working law enforcement colleagues and to the taxpayers.”

Prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security in 2010, Nelson previously worked as a federal air marshal, federal prison guard and in Arizona and served in the Air Force, during which time he spent time in Iraq.

“No one knew the hobby of collecting would turn into an addiction,” her mother wrote in a letter to the judge. “He is ready to pay the fine and has the support of his whole family. He has already lost his job and his pension…. Please don’t punish him anymore.

A message left for Nelson’s attorney was not immediately returned.

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