WASHINGTON - A former U.S. Army staff sergeant was sentenced today to 90 months in prison in connection with a fuel theft scheme to solicit more than $400,000 in bribes from a government contractor in Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Stevan Nathan Ringo, 26, of Marrero, La., was also ordered by U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III to forfeit the proceeds of the scheme, which included $408,495 and other property. In addition, Judge Ellis sentenced Ringo to serve three years of supervised release following his release from prison. Judge Ellis deferred until a later date his decision on the amount of restitution the defendant will be ordered to pay. Ringo pleaded guilty on Sept. 24, 2010, to one count of bribery.
According to court documents, Ringo was stationed at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Shank, a U.S. Army installation in the Logar Province of Eastern Afghanistan. FOB Shank supports U.S. military operations in Afghanistan in various ways, including through fuel receipt and redistribution. More specifically, the Army stores large quantities of fuel at FOB Shank and redistributes that fuel to installations in the surrounding area through government contractors. Ringo’s responsibilities at FOB Shank included supervision of that fuel redistribution process.
In his guilty plea, Ringo admitted that between December 2009 and February 2010, he accepted more than $400,000 in cash payments from a government contractor in exchange for creating and submitting fraudulent paperwork permitting that contractor to steal fuel from FOB Shank. The total value of the fuel stolen in the course of the scheme was nearly $1.5 million.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Ryan S. Faulconer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmund P. Power for the Eastern District of Virginia. Substantial assistance was provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division, other military law enforcement at FOB Shank, and members of the former National Procurement Fraud Task Force (NPFTF) and the International Contract Corruption Task Force (ICCTF).
The NPFTF, created in October 2006 by the Department of Justice, was designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud. In November 2010, the NPFTF membership became a part of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, an interagency task force established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. 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 worldwide, including in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.