News and Press Releases

Company insiders admit doctoring records and procedures to sell stolen gas to area stations

October 30, 2006

MARTIN LYNN GUITARD, 48, of Olympia, Washington, pleaded guilty in U. S. District Court in Seattle today to charges of Conspiracy to Steal Interstate Shipments, Theft of Interstate Shipments, Money Laundering, and Filing a False Tax Return. The charges stem from a lengthy investigation into the theft of fuel from the 13th Avenue Harbor Island Fuel Depot between January, 1999, and September, 2004.

GUITARD was employed by the GATX company which operated the fuel depot until March of 2001. GUITARD was the terminal supervisor at the 13th Avenue Harbor Island fuel depot from at least 1999 until November, 2000. As the supervisor, GUITARD knew a special code that would allow maintenance workers to pump product from the tanks to check the equipment. Use of the maintenance code meant there would be no record of the amount of fuel pumped.

Four others involved in the conspiracy have already pleaded guilty. CHRISTY SUE RAWLS, 44, of Puyallup, Washington, and ANDREW D. CUTRIGHT, 31, of Bonney Lake, Washington were sentenced in July 2006, to 18 months in prison and three years supervised release. RAWLS had pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and theft of interstate shipments, and, in addition to her sentence of imprisonment and supervised release, was ordered to pay restitution of $235,360.00. CUTRIGHT pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal interstate shipments and, in addition to his sentence of imprisonment and supervised release was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $225,454.00. JAMES RAYMOND ITO, 46, of Bellevue, Washington pleaded guilty on July 17, 2006, and NEIL BURT KIKUCHI, 56, of Kent, Washington pleaded guilty on July19th, 2006. Both ITO and KIKUCHI pleaded to conspiracy to steal interstate shipments, theft of interstate shipments, and money laundering. They are scheduled to be sentenced on January 19, 2007.

According to court records, between 1999 and 2004 the co-conspirators were responsible for the theft of more than 2.9 million gallons of gasoline and obtained more than $2.9 million from the sale of the stolen product.

The eighteen month investigation of the scheme began when one of the oil companies using the depot complained about an apparent loss of product from the fuel depot. Kinder Morgan, which had purchased the fuel depot in 2001 from GATX, contacted the Port of Seattle Police, who began the criminal investigation. They were joined in the investigation by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-DIV).

Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Warma is prosecuting the case. For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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