Army Sergeant Indicted for Accepting Bribes from Afghan Trucking Company in Exchange for Stealing Jet Fuel in Afghanistan
HONOLULU—Marvin L. Ware, 46, a Sergeant First Class with the 25th Infantry Division, 325th Brigade Support Battalion, Alpha Company, Schofield Army Barracks, Hawaii has been indicted and arrested on federal charges arising from his alleged role in a scheme to steal jet fuel from Forward Operating Base Fenty, near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in exchange for cash bribes from an Afghan trucking contractor.
According to an Indictment returned on May 20, 2015 by the federal grand jury in Hawai, during late 2011 and early 2012, FOB Fenty served as a regional fuel depot which supplied outlying U.S. military bases with JP8 jet fuel. Fuel deliveries were made by a local Afghan contractor, which transported the fuel in 3,000 gallon tanker trucks, termed “jingle trucks.” The Indictment alleges that between December 2011 and February 2012, Ware and two other servicemen, Sergeant Regionald Dixon and Specialist Larry Emmons, conspired to accept, and accepted, bribes in return for participating with the contractor in the theft of jet fuel from FOB Fenty. According to the Indictment, Ware and the others agreed to fill and divert jingle trucks, in return for which they received $6,000 for each truckload of stolen fuel.
The Indictment specifically alleges that Ware, Dixon and Emmons filled the jingle trucks with jet fuel, using United States military equipment, at clandestine locations and at times not likely to arouse suspicion. According to the Indictment, Ware and Emmons facilitated their scheme by creating fraudulent official military documents purporting to authorize the movement of fuel from FOB Fenty to other locations. Dixon and Emmons were charged and pled guilty to bribery charges in June 2012 for their participation in the scheme.
Ware was charged yesterday with conspiring to solicit and accept bribes, one count of bribery, one count of theft, and one count of money laundering based on the transfer, from Afghanistan to Wahiawa, Hawaii, of $25,000 which he knew were proceeds of his offenses, and which transfer was designed to conceal the nature, source and ownership of the funds.
Ware was arrested on May 21, 2015, and appeared in federal court, where he pled not guilty to all charges. Trial was scheduled for July 21, 2015 before United States District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi. If convicted, Ware will face maximum penalties of five years’ imprisonment for the conspiracy offense, 15 years’ imprisonment for the bribery offense, 20 years’ imprisonment for the money laundering offense, and ten years’ imprisonment for the theft offense, as well as the forfeiture of the proceeds of the illegal activity. An indictment is merely an accusation, and Ware is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Ware is the seventh person charged as part of an ongoing, national investigation into the theft of fuel at FOB Fenty. In addition to Ware, Dixon and Emmons, Sergeant Christopher Weaver, Specialist Stephanie Charboneau, civilian Jonathan Hightower, and Sergeant First Class Kevin Abdullah were prosecuted in the District of Colorado and the Western District of Kentucky, respectively, for a separate scheme to steal fuel from FOB Fenty in 2010.
“It’s very troubling to discover that critical military supplies were stolen by the very people who are supposed to be protecting and serving our country,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura Duffy. “That such corruption allegedly occurred in a war zone makes it even worse.”
“Today’s arrest again demonstrates our continued resolve to prosecute all corrupt public officials, at whatever level, wherever their conduct occurs,” added Florence E. Nakakuni, U.S. Attorney for Hawaii.
“SIGAR has been at the forefront of a Southwest Asia theft of fuel initiative, which to date has prosecuted seven individuals, recovered over $1.6 million in illegal criminal proceeds and $20 million in civil penalties, and in the process, improved the safety and security of the supply of fuel to our Warfighters in Afghanistan. With the resources at our disposal, we will continue to identify and protect such strategic priorities through innovative, proactive investigatory measures, such as those that have proven so effective in these cases,” said John Sopko, the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction.
“It is reprehensible when a military service member abandons his ethical responsibilities and violates the sacred public trust for personal enrichment,” said Special Agent in Charge Janice M. Flores, of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (“DCIS”) Southwest Field Office, Arlington, TX. “Today’s arrest demonstrates the continued commitment of the DCIS, along with our law enforcement partners, to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone who commits this kind of crime in order to protect the integrity of the Department of Defense and the sacrifices of the American public, especially those service members who are serving honorably and selflessly in Southwest Asia.”
The case is being investigated by SIGAR, DCIS, Army CID, and the Defense Contract Audit Agency, with substantial assistance from the FBI, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher of the Southern District of California and Ken Sorenson of the District of Hawaii.
Anyone with information relating to fraud or corruption in government contracting should contact the DOD Hotline at www.dodig.mil/hotline, or call (800) 424-9098.