Former Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Participating in Scheme to Steal Large Quantities of Fuel from U.S. Army in Iraq
|U.S. Department of Justice December 11, 2009|
WASHINGTON—Robert Jeffery, 55, a former master chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, was sentenced today to four years in prison for his participation in a scheme to steal approximately 10 million gallons of fuel from the U.S. Army in Iraq, announced Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride.
Jeffery, a U.S. citizen who resided in the Philippines until his arrest in connection with this case, was also sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Claude M. Hilton in the Eastern District of Virginia to forfeit $66,500 and to pay $16,757,673 in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-conspirators. Jeffery was also sentenced to two years of supervised release following his prison term. Jeffery was convicted by a federal jury on Aug. 11, 2009, after a two-day trial on one count of conspiracy and one count of theft of government property.
According to the evidence presented at trial, from February 2008 through May 2008, Jeffery and his co-conspirators, purportedly representing Department of Defense contractors in Iraq, used fraudulently obtained documents to enter the Victory Bulk Fuel Point (VBFP) in Camp Liberty, Iraq, and presented false fuel authorization forms to steal aviation and diesel fuel from the VBFP for subsequent sale on the black market. The United States owns and operates the VBFP in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The VBFP supplies fuel to both military units and U.S. government contractors operating in and around the Victory Base Complex. The evidence at trial showed that Jeffery served as an escort for the fuel trucks and retrieved hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel from the VBFP based on fraudulent fuel authorization forms. Jeffery received approximately $66,000 in personal profits from the scheme.
In related cases, Robert Young pleaded guilty on July 24, 2009, to participating in the same scheme. In his plea, Young admitted that he and his co-conspirators employed several individuals to serve as drivers and escorts of the trucks containing the stolen fuel. Young admitted that he received approximately $1 million in personal profits from the scheme. On Nov. 6, 2009, Young was sentenced to 97 months in prison.
Lee William Dubois pleaded guilty on Oct. 7, 2008, to participating in the same scheme. In his plea, Dubois admitted that he obtained government-issued common access cards for the drivers and escorts of the trucks and also presented false documents to the VBFP authorizing his co-conspirators to draw fuel. Dubois admitted that he received at least $450,000 in personal profits from the scheme. On Aug. 25, 2009, Dubois was sentenced to 36 months in prison.
Michel Jamil pleaded guilty on July 27, 2009, in connection with his role in the theft scheme. Jamil admitted that in March 2007, he and two of his co-conspirators arranged for the creation of a false fuel authorization form authorizing individuals to draw fuel from the VBFP. Jamil also admitted to serving as an escort for the fuel trucks to retrieve the fuel from the VBFP. Jamil admitted he received between $75,000 and $87,500 in personal profits from the scheme. Jamil’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2010.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Linick, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Andrew Gentin and Brigham Cannon. The investigation of this case was conducted by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, and members of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force and the International Contract Corruption Task Force (ICCTF).
The National Procurement Fraud Task Force, created in October 2006 by the Department of Justice, was designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention, and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The ICCTF is a joint law enforcement agency task force that seeks to detect, investigate and dismantle corruption and contract fraud resulting from U.S. Overseas Contingency Operations, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait.