WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Robert Jeffery, 55, with conspiracy and theft of government property in connection with a scheme to steal large quantities of fuel from the U.S. Army in Iraq, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to the two-count indictment, from October 2007 through May 2008, Jeffery, a U.S. citizen residing in the Philippines, 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 allegedly presented false fuel authorization forms to steal large quantities of aviation and diesel fuel from the VBFP for subsequent sale on the black market. 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. According to court documents, the United States owns and operates the VBFP in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The VBFP supplies aviation fuel and diesel fuel to both military units and U.S. government contractors operating in and around the VBFP.
The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost. The theft of government property count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost.
In a related case, Lee William Dubois pleaded guilty on Oct. 7, 2008, to participating in a scheme to steal fuel worth approximately $39.6 million from the U.S. Army in Iraq. 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 and his co-conspirators stole approximately 10 million gallons of fuel, and that Dubois 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 June 18, 2009.
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 Attorney Andrew Gentin. 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.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.