Thursday, March 13, 2014

U.S. Army Soldier Sentenced for Facilitating Thefts of Fuel in Afghanistan

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information today:

A U.S. Army soldier was sentenced to serve 12 months and one day in prison for his role in stealing fuel at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Fenty near Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas B. Russell in the Western District of Kentucky.

According to court documents, in May and June 2010, U.S. Army Sergeant Kevin Bilal Abdullah, 40, of Clarksville, Tenn., was involved in overseeing the delivery of fuel from FOB Fenty to other military bases.   Abdullah created fraudulent documents called Transportation Movement Requests purporting to authorize the transport of fuel from FOB Fenty to other military bases, even though no legitimate fuel transportation was required.   After the trucks were filled with fuel, these fraudulent documents were used by the drivers of the fuel trucks at FOB Fenty’s departure checkpoint to justify the trucks’ departures.   In truth, the fuel was simply stolen, and Abdullah and his co-conspirators received payment in cash from a representative of the Afghan trucking company that allegedly stole the fuel.
Abdullah pleaded guilty on Aug. 29, 2013, to receiving payments from a representative of the trucking company in exchange for facilitating the theft of fuel in approximately 25 fuel trucks.   He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and to the substantive count of bribery.  At sentencing, he was ordered to pay $466,250 in restitution.

Abdullah’s sentencing was the fourth conviction arising from this investigation of fuel thefts at FOB Fenty.   On Aug. 3, 2012, Jonathan Hightower, a civilian employee of a military contractor who had conspired with Abdullah and others, pleaded guilty to similar charges.   After cooperating with the government, he was sentenced on Oct. 28, 2013, to serve 27 months in prison.   On Oct.10, 2012, Christopher Weaver, another conspirator, pleaded guilty to fuel theft charges and, after cooperating with the government, was sentenced on Oct. 28, 2013, to serve 37 months in prison.   On Sept. 5, 2013, former Specialist Stephanie Charboneau pleaded guilty, and on Feb. 4, 2014, she was sentenced to serve 87 months in prison.   Weaver, Hightower and Charboneau were prosecuted in the District of Colorado.

These cases were investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Department of the Army - Criminal Investigation Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI.

The Abdullah case was handled by Special Trial Attorney Mark H. Dubester of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, on detail from SIGAR, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bennett.      

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