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Press Release

Soldier Pleads Guilty To Theft Of Over $400,000 Worth Of Fuel

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

GREENVILLE – United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that today in federal court, before United States Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Swank, ALEXANDER SWIM , 25, of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, entered a guilty plea to the theft of fuel from Forward Operating Base (FOB) Sharana, Afghanistan in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 641 and 2.

According to information in the public record, ALEXANDER SWIM is a Specialist (E-4) in the United States Army assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group.  From January 2012 through October 4, 2012, SWIM was assigned to an Advanced Operating Base (AOB) deployed to Afghanistan under the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) - Afghanistan assigned under the Special Operations Task Force (SOTF)-East, also known as Task Force 23, and assigned to the Forward Operating Base ("FOB") Sharana.  During his deployment to Afghanistan, SWIM served as an AOB Mechanic with duties to work at FOB Sharana's fuel point and to perform maintenance on military vehicles. 

During his deployment, SWIM and others engaged in a fuel theft scheme. Specifically, SWIM worked with another U.S. soldier (James Edward Travis who was previously indicted), to steal fuel belonging to the United States Government from the fuel point at FOB Sharana.  On multiple occasions, SWIM was paid to escort a foreign national driver to the fuel point on FOB Sharana, to load fuel belonging to the United States into such driver's truck, and to escort the driver with the stolen fuel back off FOB Sharana.

Agents determined that 182,815 gallons of fuel were stolen.  Based on an average price of $2.31/gallon for JP-8 fuel, the loss from the fuel theft scheme to the government is estimated at $422,302.65 

"Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office, commented, "It is disheartening when a military member abandons his code of conduct and steals from his own unit for personal enrichment, especially when it undermines the combat mission. DCIS will continue to aggressively investigate violators to protect Department of Defense resources around the world, and preserve precious American taxpayer dollars."

"Specialist Alexander Swim, US Army, 3rd Special Forces Group, betrayed his unit, the US Army and the nation for personal profit.  Swim with his co-conspirators entered into illegal relationships in order to personally profit from the sale and transport of fuel valued at over $400,000.  These actions, especially in a war time environment, damage the reputation of all soldiers and impede the success of coalition war efforts.  Those involved in this type of criminal activity will be aggressively pursued by the FBI and our military partners dedicated to upholding justice," said John Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina.

 "Today's plea is a prime example of our continued and relentless commitment to investigate and hold accountable all those who would commit fraud against the U.S. Army, especially those in uniform and during a time of war," said Frank Robey, Director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's Major Procurement Fraud Unit. "The Army's Criminal Investigation Command continues to work round the clock in cooperation with our inter-agency law enforcement partners in theaters around the world to protect Army and National interests."

The maximum penalty that SWIM faces at sentencing is 10 years imprisonment and/or a $250,00 fine, restitution and forfeiture in the amount of $15,000.

The criminal investigation of this case was conducted by Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).  Assistant United States Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan is handling the prosecution of the case.

Updated July 14, 2015