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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Army Soldier Pleads Guilty For Role In Stealing Fuel In Afghanistan

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – U.S. Army Sergeant Albert Kelly III, 28, of Fort Knox, Ky., pleaded guilty today to theft charges for his role in the theft of fuel at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Salerno in Afghanistan.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and David J. Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky made the announcement.

The plea was entered in federal court in Louisville, Ky., before Magistrate Judge James D. Moyer of the Western District of Kentucky. Kelly faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a restitution order of $100,000 when he is sentenced on May 22, 2014, by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II.

"The theft of critical military supplies in Afghanistan jeopardizes mission readiness and potentially the safety of our soldiers," stated U.S. Attorney Hale. "We will continue to work with our military and law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these types of crimes."

According to court records, Kelly was a soldier in the United States Army and was assigned to FOB Salerno from January 2011 to January 2012. For most of that time, Kelly served as a specialist, and his duties included overseeing the delivery of fuel into FOB Salerno. Typically, the fuel was brought into the base by Afghan trucking companies driven by Afghan nationals. Kelly’s duties included verifying the amounts of the fuel that were downloaded at FOB Salerno and preparing and certifying documents that accounted for the fuel that was downloaded.

From in or about November 2011 through January 2012, Kelly diverted and permitted the diversion of fuel delivery trucks from FOB Salerno to other locations, where the trucks would then be downloaded and the fuel stolen. To conceal this diversion, he falsely certified that the diverted fuel was in fact delivered and downloaded at FOB Salerno.

In exchange for assisting the fuel theft, Kelly received approximately $57,000 from the Afghan trucking company for diverting approximately 25,000 gallons of fuel. The loss to the government was approximately $100,000.

This case was investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The prosecution is being handled by Special Trial Attorney Mark H. Dubester, on detail to the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section from SIGAR, and Assistant United States Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky.

Updated December 15, 2014