President of Local Defense Contractor Sentenced to One Year and a Day in Federal Prison in Bribery Conspiracy
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON HENSLEY, 57, of Yukon, Oklahoma, was sentenced today to serve one year and one day in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to bribe a public official at the Corpus Christi Army Depot, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Hensley is the founder and president of Aerochem, Inc., based in Oklahoma City. Aerochem manufactures paint remover (“depaint”) products, and it sold these products to Tinker Air Force Base (“Tinker”) and other military bases for several years. On June 9, 2015, Hensley was charged by information with conspiracy to bribe a public official at the Corpus Christi Army Depot (“CCAD”) in Corpus Christi, Texas. The information alleged that Aerochem started selling paint remover products in 2010 to CCAD. According to the information, Hensley and Soney E. Beesley, a former Aerochem officer, developed a relationship at CCAD with Richard Balderas, Jr., a supervisor of a CCAD division that stripped paint off military helicopter parts. The information alleged that Hensley and Beesley provided entertainment, $5,000 in wire transfers, and more than $3,000 in cash to Balderas in exchange for his favorable treatment of Aerochem’s business interests at CCAD. At a plea hearing on June 23, 2015, Hensley admitted that he approved of Beesley taking Balderas out to gentlemen’s clubs in Corpus Christi and using Aerochem money to buy a $2,600 football helmet for the football team of Balderas’ son.
Today, United States District Judge Joe Heaton sentenced Hensley to one year and one day in federal prison. Judge Heaton ruled that Hensley was responsible for bribery payments by Aerochem to officials at Tinker and CCAD. Judge Heaton ordered Hensley to pay $24,316.06 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Defense, to forfeit an additional $24,316.06 to the federal government as criminal proceeds, and to pay a fine of $25,000. Following his term of imprisonment, Hensley must serve three years of supervised release. Judge Heaton ordered Hensley to report on January 4, 2016, to a facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons.
Hensley is the fourth defendant to plead guilty and to be sentenced for an Aerochem bribery scheme involving Tinker and CCAD. In October 2013, SHELVIE RAYMOND TABB, 51, of Canadian, Oklahoma, pled guilty to accepting cash from an Aerochem employee in exchange for Tabb’s favorable treatment of Aerochem’s business interests in federal contracting. Tabb is a former depaint section chief at Tinker. In February 2014, SONEY E. BEESLEY, 41, of Oklahoma City, plead guilty to offering a bribe to a public official. Beesley admitted at a plea hearing that he made cash payments to Tabb in exchange for Tabb’s favorable treatment of Aerochem’s interests in federal contracts at Tinker. In June 2014,RICHARD BALDERAS, JR., 47, of Ingleside, Texas, pled guilty to accepting a bribe as a public official. At a plea hearing, Balderas admitted that as a CCAD supervisor, he helped to decide when CCAD needed to replace its paint stripper. Balderas further admitted that in 2011 and 2012, he accepted cash from Beesley on behalf of Aerochem, and Beesley represented that the cash payments were based on how much paint stripper CCAD bought from Aerochem. In August 2015, Judge Heaton sentenced Tabb, Beesley, and Balderas each to a term of 36 months’ probation. Beesley was also ordered to serve 30 days of home confinement and to pay a fine of $30,000.
These cases are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris M. Stephens.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.