OLYMPIA MAN SENTENCED TO 46 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR LEADING CONSPIRACY THAT STOLE $2.9 MILLION WORTH OF FUEL
Company Insiders Doctored Records and Procedures to Sell Stolen Gas to Area Stations
MARTIN LYNN GUITARD, 48, of Olympia, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 46 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and $1,188,123 in restitution for Conspiracy to Steal Interstate Shipments, Theft of Interstate Shipments, Money Laundering, and Willfully 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. At sentencing Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said, “The people who were involved in this all knew better. They stopped and thought about it, and still went forward and did it....that’s what this case is all about: pure and simple greed.”
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 June 15, 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. GUITARD used the money to buy expensive automobiles and to build a state-of-the-art baseball facility near his home in Olympia. GUITARD told the court today, “I’m ashamed and embarrassed, I knew what I was doing was wrong.... all the money in the world is not worth what I put my family through.”
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.