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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON HENSLEY, 56, of Yukon, Oklahoma, has been indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with bribing a public official, conspiracy to commit bribery, and making false statements to the federal government, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Hensley is the founder and president of Aerochem, Inc., based in Oklahoma City. Aerochem manufactures paint remover ("depaint") products, and it sold these products to Tinker Air Force Base ("Tinker") and other military bases for several years. The indictment alleges that Hensley developed a relationship with the depaint section chief for an aircraft maintenance squadron at Tinker. According to the indictment, from around 2005 to 2008, Hensley provided several items of value to the section chief, including cash to purchase a wedding ring and a bass boat. The indictment further alleges that Hensley conspired, from 2008 to 2012, with a former Aerochem employee to bribe the section chief by providing meals, alcohol, trips to gentlemen’s clubs, and cruise tickets. According to the indictment, Hensley and the other Aerochem employee also purchased a boat for $7,500 in 2010 for the section’s chief’s use. It is further alleged that in 2011 and 2012, the other Aerochem employee, with Hensley’s knowledge, made routine cash payments, of approximately $300 to $500, to the section chief based on how much depaint product Tinker was buying from Aerochem.
The indictment also alleges Aerochem had a similar relationship with a supervisor of a division at Corpus Christi Army Depot that stripped paint off helicopter parts used by the U.S. military. According to the indictment, Hensley and the former Aerochem employee provided entertainment, wire transfers, and more than $3,000 in cash to the Corpus Christi supervisor in exchange for the supervisor’s favorable treatment of Aerochem’s business interests.
Finally, the indictment alleges that Hensley falsely recertified to the federal government that a certain Aerochem product, Aerostrip 5182, met qualification requirements for sales to military bases. According to the indictment, Hensley twice provided false certifications: in 2011 to the Department of the Air Force, and in 2013 to the Corpus Christi Army Depot. The indictment alleges that in both cases, Hensley did not have laboratory testing reports showing the Aerochem product had actually passed all military conformance standards for the depaint product.
The indictment charges Hensley with three counts of making a bribe to the Tinker depaint section chief. Those counts separately allege that Hensley provided the section chief (1) in 2007 with $1,200 to buy a wedding ring, (2) in 2009 with approximately $1,100 in cruise tickets, and (3) in 2010 with a $7,500 boat in Aerochem’s name for his use, in exchange for the section chief’s favorable treatment of Aerochem business interests. The indictment also charges Hensley with conspiring, from 2008 to 2012, with a former Aerochem employee to make bribe payments to the Tinker employee and the CCAD employee. In addition, Hensley is charged with two counts of making false statements to the federal government about Aerostrip 5182’s certification with military performance specifications.
If convicted, Hensley faces a prison sentence of up to 15 years for each bribery count, and up to 5 years for the conspiracy count and each false statement count. Hensley could also receive an additional $250,000 fine on each count if convicted. The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
These charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris M. Stephens.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.