Lincoln would not have been surprised

by bvernia | July 27th, 2009

The US Attorney in EDVA announced a guilty plea today in a case involving the theft of nearly $40 million of fuel from the Army in Iraq:

A Virginia man pleaded guilty today to participating in a scheme to steal fuel worth approximately $39.6 million from the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Michel Jamil, 59, of Annandale, Va., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., before Judge Claude Hilton. Jamil pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to steal government property.

In his guilty plea, Jamil admitted that in March 2007, he and two of his co-conspirators arranged for the creation of a false Memorandum for Record (MFR) authorizing individuals to draw fuel from the Victory Bulk Fuel Point (VBFP), Camp Liberty, Iraq, purportedly on behalf of a company serving as a contractor to the U.S. government. The VBFP, owned and operated by the United States, supplies aviation and diesel fuel to military units and U.S. government contractors operating in and around the Victory Base Complex. Jamil admitted that he and his co-conspirators used this false MFR and others to steal large quantities of fuel from the U.S. Army for subsequent sale on the Iraqi black market. Jamil admitted that he escorted the trucks to retrieve fuel from the VBFP using a false MFR on approximately 10 to 15 occasions. During Jamil’s participation in the scheme, he and his co-conspirators stole from the U.S. Army fuel worth approximately $39.6 million. As a result of the scheme, Jamil admitted he received between $75,000 and $87,500 in profits.

At sentencing, Jamil faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 13, 2009.

In related cases, Lee William Dubois and Robert Young pleaded guilty to participating in the same scheme. In his guilty plea on Oct. 7, 2008, 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 and his co-conspirators stole approximately 10 million gallons of fuel, and that he received at least $450,000 in personal profits from the subsequent sale of the fuel on the black market. Sentencing for Dubois is scheduled for Sept. 4, 2009.

Young, 56, a former captain in the U.S. Army, pleaded guilty on July 24, 2009. In his guilty plea, Young admitted that between October 2007 and May 2008, he and his co-conspirators used fraudulently-obtained documents to enter the VBFP and presented false fuel authorization forms to steal aviation and diesel fuel from the VBFP for subsequent sale on the black market. As a result of the scheme, Young received approximately $1 million in personal profits. Sentencing for Young is scheduled for Oct. 30, 2009.

In another related case, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment on May 21, 2009, charging Robert Jeffery, 55, with conspiracy and theft of government property in connection with the same fuel theft scheme. The indictment alleges that Jeffery served as the lead escort for the fuel trucks for several months and illegally retrieved thousands of gallons of fuel from the VBFP. Young and Jeffery are both U.S. citizens who, until their arrests in connection with this case, resided in the Philippines. Jeffery’s trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 10, 2009.

To put the staggering volume (10 million gallons) of stolen fuel in perspective, that’s just a little less than the amount of oil spilled when the Exxon Valdez ran aground.

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