photo of Joseph Gutheinz, Jr.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771


Monday, October 1, 2012 / 3:30 PM, Building 3 Auditorium

Joseph Gutheinz, Jr.

"Finding the Missing Moon Rocks"

ABSTRACT -- During the Apollo Project, the United States presented both Apollo 11 Moon Rocks and Apollo 17 Goodwill Moon Rocks to the governments of many US states and foreign countries.  Although many are still on display, many others are missing, stolen or destroyed.  I will begin my talk by describing Operation Lunar Eclipse, a sting operation I led and went undercover in to secure the Honduras Goodwill Moon Rock. Members of my Agents were drawn not only from NASA OIG, but also the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Customs. Billionaire and one-time Presidential candidate Ross Perot assisted the investigation by putting up the 5 million dollar asking price for the Honduras Goodwill Moon Rock.

Since retiring from NASA I have led the Moon Rock Project where I have had up to 1,000 graduate and undergraduate students hunt down moon rocks all over the world. I will tell the stories of state and world leaders who kept the priceless moon rocks given to the states and nations of the world for themselves and how, thanks to my students, many have been recovered and or put on display.

Maryland's Apollo 11 Moon Rock is in storage at Annapolis and its Apollo 17 Goodwill Moon Rock, is on display there.

SPEAKER -- Joseph Gutheinz, Jr., is best known for his work recovering lost and stolen moon rocks.  However, he has been involved in a number of other high profile cases, both at NASA and at the Department of Transportation.  For instance, he investigated, arrested, and testified against the "Great Astronaut Impersonator" who secured access to Mission Control, VIP tours of military bases and schematics to the space shuttle propulsion system    He led a 9 agency investigation of Omniplan, a NASA prime contractor and Rockwell subcontractor to NASA. The investigation determined an elaborate fraud and lease back scheme that went undetected for about a 10 year period. His investigation of Omniplan led to the closure of 7 companies, criminal convictions of 5 companies and the convictions of 5 individuals to include Omniplan’s owner on 180 felony counts. Nearly 15 million dollars in fines and restitution were ordered in the criminal case. A multi-million dollar settlement was reached against Rockwell Space Operation Company’s successors in interest (United Space Alliance and Boeing), after a civil suit was filed against these companies; this case was related to the Omniplan investigation.

While working for the Department of Transportation, Special Agent Gutheinz conducted over 2 dozen successful criminal cases against aviators, to include military and airline pilots. He also conducted high profile cases against a major airport and a state highway department. One of his cases involved two mafia families.

Mr. Gutheinz has taught at the University of Phoenix, Alvin Community College, and Central Texas College and he holds 8 teaching credentials.  His classroom assignments often involve tracking down missing moon rocks.  He holds six college degrees, earned at the South Texas College of Law, the University of Southern California, California State University Sacramento, and Monterey Peninsula College.   He has also graduated from government schools, including the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and the U.S. Army Flight School. He was the top graduate (Honor Graduate) From the Criminal Investigator’s Course at FLETC. He was the Distinguished Graduate, with a 99 average, from FLETC’s Office of Inspector General Basic Course. Additionally he is a criminal defense trial attorney and a partner in the Gutheinz Law Firm, LLP. He holds 10 law licenses to include one from the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Gutheinz was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency Career Achievement Award.

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