Former Military Officer Pleads Guilty to Participating in Scheme to Steal Fuel Worth $39.6 Million from U.S. Army in Iraq

Robert Young, 56, a former captain in the U.S. Army, pleaded guilty today to participating in a scheme to steal fuel worth approximately $39.6 million from the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Young, a U.S. citizen who resided in the Philippines until his arrest in connection with this case, entered his guilty plea today in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., before Judge Claude Hilton. Young pleaded guilty to both counts of a two-count superseding indictment filed on May 21, 2009, charging him and Robert Jeffery with conspiracy and theft of government property. Young’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 30, 2009.

In his plea, Young admitted that in October 2007, he and other co-conspirators agreed to participate in a scheme to steal fuel from the U.S. Army. Young also admitted that between October 2007 and May 2008, he and his co-conspirators, purportedly representing Department of Defense contractors in Iraq, used fraudulently-obtained documents to enter the Victory Bulk Fuel Point (VBFP) in Camp Liberty, Iraq, and presented false fuel authorization forms to steal aviation and diesel fuel from the VBFP for subsequent sale on the black market. The United States owns and operates the VBFP in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The VBFP supplies fuel to both military units and U.S. government contractors operating in and around the Victory Base Complex. To retrieve and transport the stolen fuel from the VBFP, Young admitted that he and his co-conspirators employed several individuals to serve as drivers and escorts of the trucks containing the stolen fuel.

During Young’s participation in the scheme, he and his co-conspirators stole from the U.S. Army fuel worth approximately $39.6 million. As a result of the scheme, Young received approximately $1 million in personal profits.

At sentencing, Young faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost.

In a related case, Lee William Dubois pleaded guilty on Oct. 7, 2008, to participating in the same scheme. In his plea, Dubois admitted that he obtained government-issued common access cards for the drivers and escorts of the trucks and also presented false documents to the VBFP authorizing his co-conspirators to draw fuel. Dubois admitted that he and his co-conspirators stole approximately 10 million gallons of fuel, and that Dubois received at least $450,000 in personal profits from the subsequent sale of the fuel on the black market. Sentencing for Dubois is scheduled for Sept. 4, 2009.

The superseding indictment filed on May 21, 2009, charges Robert Jeffery, 55, a former master chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, with conspiracy and theft of government property in connection with the same fuel theft scheme. The indictment alleges that Jeffery served as the lead escort for the fuel trucks for several months and illegally retrieved thousands of gallons of fuel from the VBFP. Jeffery is a U.S. citizen who, until his arrest in connection with this case, resided in the Philippines. Jeffery’s trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 10, 2009.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Linick, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Andrew Gentin and Brigham Cannon. The investigation of this case was conducted by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI and members of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force and the International Contract Corruption Task Force (ICCTF).

The National Procurement Fraud Task Force, created in October 2006 by the Department of Justice, was designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The ICCTF is a joint law enforcement agency task force that seeks to detect, investigate and dismantle corruption and contract fraud resulting from U.S. Overseas Contingency Operations, including in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.