U.S. courtroom

A federal courtroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — A North Ogden man has been sentenced to two years of probation and fined $2,000 after a rigged Forest Service surplus vehicle auction.

U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish sentenced Robert Joseph Alexander on Friday, Jan. 4, according to online court records.

Alexander had pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government money and federal prosecutors dismissed a related charge of theft of government property.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed court papers Monday dismissing the companion case against Alexander’s girlfriend, Jennifer Jean Nielsen. She had been charged with one count of theft of government property.

Parrish told Alexander he is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition and he cannot work in fleet management while on probation.

Prosecutors alleged Alexander rigged the auction of a Forest Service pickup purchased by his girlfriend and then used a government credit card to pay for fixing up the truck.

According to an investigative affidavit and a May 30, 2018, grand jury indictment, Alexander was charged related to a transaction Dec. 12, 2017, in which Nielsen paid $6,900 for a 2012 Dodge Ram.

Alexander was assistant fleet manager with the Forest Service’s Region 4 office in Ogden.

In the auction, Nielsen submitted the highest of six bids. A receipt emailed to her described the truck as “an inoperable tow-away.”

According to vehicle price checks on Kelley Blue Book, a 2012 Ram 2500 with 80,000 miles could be worth $20,000-$35,000.

On Dec. 11, 2017, Alexander took the truck to a Riverdale dealership and had repairs and maintenance done, the affidavit said. Alexander paid the $1,610 bill with a federally issued fuel card, agents said.

Alexander’s attorney, Chad McKay of Ogden, said earlier that Alexander no longer works for the government and that federal authorities seized the pickup.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net or 801 625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt.

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