Texas company convicted for supplying potentially tainted rocket fuel to NASA
HOUSTON – Anahuac Transport Inc. has pleaded guilty to fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Corporate representatives Gary Monteau and Brant Charpiot admitted their guilt today on behalf of the company. Monteau, Charpiot and Anahuac have entered voluntary exclusions with the United States in which each agrees to be banned from federal government contracting for two years. As part of their plea, Anahuac also agreed to forfeit $251,401, which constitutes gross proceeds traceable to the commission of the offense. The court entered a money judgement against Anahuac in that amount.
Anahuac admitted to falsifying its records and delivering potentially tainted rocket fuel for NASA and Department of Defense (DOD) rocket launches.
NASA and DOD entered into contracts with various companies, including Space Explorations Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), to launch rockets with supplies for the International Space Station and with military payloads.
These companies procured fuel for the rocket launches and contracted for transportation of the fuel to the launch sites. Anahuac was in the business of hauling chemicals in tanker trailers. From approximately 2012 through 2020, NASA and DOD subcontracted Anahuac to transport the rocket fuel.
To prevent contamination, Anahuac was required to ensure the tanker trailer they used did not previously contain certain chemicals that may have adverse reactions with the fuel. However, Anahuac intentionally falsified its documents, claiming it had not previously hauled incompatible chemicals with its tanker trailers. In fact, it had.
Anahuac transported the rocket fuel with its contaminated trailers. As a result, NASA used the fuel for rocket launches.
U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett accepted the plea and set sentencing for May 12. At that time, Anahuac could also be ordered to pay a possible $500,000 fine and serve up to five years of probation.
NASA - Office of Inspector General (OIG) and DOD – OIG conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Johnson is prosecuting the case.