Elkton Man Pleads Guilty to Using Stolen GSA Credit Cards to Buy Gasoline
Baltimore, Maryland - Richard B. Eldreth, age 41, of Elkton, Maryland pleaded guilty today to stealing government property in connection with the unauthorized purchases of fuel using stolen U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) credit cards, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
“This was an outright theft of federal property,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Richard Eldreth used stolen GSA credit cards hundreds of times to purchase more than $57,000 worth of fuel at gas stations.”
According to the statement of facts, GSA pays fuel bills and maintenance costs for vehicles leased to federal agencies and quasi-federal agencies, including the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). Each government vehicle is assigned a GSA Voyager Fleet Credit Card (VFCC) to purchase gas and maintenance for the vehicle. Between June 2008 and September 2008, several VFCCs assigned to Amtrak vehicles in Delaware and Maryland were reported as lost or stolen by Amtrak. During that same period of time, these lost and stolen VFCCs were used to make unauthorized fuel purchases in the Elkton, Maryland area. Between July and August 2008, Richard Eldreth, purchased three VFCCs from another person and used the cards to purchase approximately $57,863.73 of fuel at gas stations in Maryland and Delaware. He used some of this fuel himself and resold some of it to others at a discount from the amounts GSA had to pay for the fuel. Eldreth knew that he was not authorized to use the VFCCs to purchase fuel.
According to court documents, on August 12 and 19, 2008, GSA agents observed Eldreth use a credit card at a gas station in Elkton to fuel five pick-up trucks and several 50 gallon containers located in the trucks’ flatbeds. Two of these vehicles were observed parked at his residence. Receipts for the fuel purchases retrieved after Eldreth left the gas station indicated that two GSA credit cards which had been previously reported as stolen from Amtrak were used to purchase the fuel.
Eldreth faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for April 3, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the GSA - Office of Inspector General and the Amtrak - Office of Inspector General for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein also thanked the Cecil County Sheriff’s Department, the Elkton Police Department and the Maryland Department of Environmental Protection for their assistance. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Biran, who is prosecuting the case.