Richmond Man Indicted for Theft of Generators from American Military Base in Iraq
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 21, 2013|
RICHMOND, VA—Reuben Thomas, 35, of Richmond, Virginia, was indicted today for the theft of two electrical generators from the American Victory Base Complex in Baghdad, Iraq.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Jeffrey C. Mazanec, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after the return of the indictment.
Thomas was a civilian employed as a Site Lead Property Book Manager by Honeywell Technologies Solutions Inc., an American company that had a military contract and subcontract with the Department of Defense to assist in its mission at the Camp Victory Base Complex (VBC) in Bagdad, in the Republic of Iraq.
In addition to theft of government property, Thomas was also charged with making a false statement to the FBI. If convicted, he is facing a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment on count one and five years on count two. He also faces a fine of up to $500,000.
According to the indictment, a shortage of reliable electricity was a chronic, widespread problem in Iraq during the period of occupation by coalition forces following the 2003 invasion. To fulfill its mission, DOD had many contracts to create and import a wide variety of electrical generators into Iraq. Forces opposing the United States also had the same electrical problems, and, therefore, they needed generators as much as the DOD. One such generator purchased by the DOD was a 1.1 megawatt, approximately 20,000-pound, diesel generator manufactured by F. G. Wilson. These generators were typically used as prime power in Iraq, meaning that they supplied continuous electrical power in places where there was no commercial power available. The price per generator was $176,055. DOD stored and maintained many of its generators in a yard on the west side of the VBC.
On June 17, 2009, two of these generators were stolen from the VBC. Count one of the indictment charges Thomas in the theft of those generators.
He is also charged with making a false material statement in connection with the investigation of the thefts. The investigation established that a rough terrain container handler, commonly referred to as a “retch,” was used to lift the generators from the sandy storage yard onto two flatbed trucks. The investigation also determined that the particular retch used in the theft was borrowed from Supply Support Administration (SSA) facility on the east side of the VBC, with the permission of an SSA supervisor. Accordingly, it was material to the investigation to determine the identity of the person who asked the supervisor for permission.
According to the indictment, on September 15, 2010, Thomas falsely represented to an FBI special agent that on June 17, 2009 ,he had not spoken to anyone at the SSA yard on the east side of the VBC to ask for permission to use a retch. In fact, the indictment alleges, Thomas did ask an SSA supervisor for permission to borrow the vehicle.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation Division of the United States Army. Assistant United States Attorney David T. Maguire is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.