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Washington man sentenced for selling faulty Chinese ballistic vests to police

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(The Center Square) – Jeffrey Meining, a 42-year-old man from Vancouver, Washington, received a 12-month and one-day federal prison sentence, plus three years of supervised release, for intentionally marketing and selling low-quality ballistic protective equipment made in China to many domestic law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Military.

From 2016 until 2022, Meining ran a ballistic equipment business called “BulletProof-IT.” It sold products to many state, local and federal agencies, including law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and the U.S. Military, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

Meining lied about where the products were made and their compliance with safety regulations. He claimed the products were made in the United States but bought them from China and sold them to governmental entities for large markups.

The man lied about the product origins on business materials and government contracts.

“In 2016, BulletProof-IT became a supplier of goods to U.S Tactical Supply under a contract with the General Services Administration (GSA), which allowed federal, state, and local government agencies to place orders for tactical supplies from certified suppliers,” a release explained. “Under the terms of the GSA contract, the government could only purchase goods made in the U.S. or designated countries. Between 2016 and January 2022, Meining supplied over $1 million in products under the GSA contract, nearly $400,000 of which were substitute products that did not meet required safety standards.”

The man never paid for any National Institute of Justice testing for any of the products, and many products he sold failed even limited testing protocols. However, he falsified test results and sold the faulty products.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Portland intercepted and detained a package from China that was being sent to Meining in June 2021. It contained helmets and body armor plates.

“To release the shipment, Meining submitted doctored test results on which he removed notations of the various products having failed their performance tests,” the release said.

False statements Meining made influenced the decisions to buy his products. For example, he said in a 2019 contract with the Mesa Police Department regarding the sale of ballistics helmets that the helmets met National Institute of Justice standards when this was false. He falsely said the same thing two years later when selling helmets to the U.S. Air Force.

Meining was charged by criminal information in November 2022 with wire fraud. In March 2023, he pleaded guilty to the charge.

“In the shadow of deceit, Jeffrey Meining orchestrated a scheme of betrayal, defrauding not only law enforcement agencies but the very fabric of trust woven into our nation’s armor,” Robert Hammer, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle Field Office, said in the release. “Through his company, Meining peddled false promises, masqueraded Chinese-made products as American-made, and fabricated test results to conceal their inadequacy. His actions, a grave breach of integrity, endangered the lives of those sworn to protect and serve. Let today’s sentencing serve as a call to fortify our vigilance against nefarious actors who seek to compromise the safety of our nation’s defenders.”