One pleads guilty, another charged in fuel theft scheme - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

One pleads guilty, another charged in fuel theft scheme

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A Hurricane man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Aug. 19 in connection with a scheme that stole thousands of dollars worth of diesel fuel from a military facility in Putnam County.

Matthew Todd Brock, 42, pleaded guilty to theft of government property before U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers in Huntington, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

Brock was hired in September 2010 as the program manager for the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSW) program in Red House. He began using a government-issued credit card to make illegal fuel purchases. Beginning in February 2012 and continuing through March 2012, Brock illegally used the credit card to put fuel into his personal vehicle and family members' vehicles. In total, Brock made approximately $5,619 in illegal fuel purchases using the credit card, Goodwin said.

Beginning in May 2012, Brock began stealing diesel fuel from the NSW Ops Stock program in Red House and later sold the fuel to an acquaintance for $1 per gallon.  Brock sold the stolen diesel fuel once or twice per week for approximately eight months.  Over that time period, Brock illegally sold a total of nearly $15,000 in diesel fuel that he stole from the facility, Goodwin said.

Brock faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine when he is sentenced on Nov. 18, Goodwin said.  

The NSW, a component of the U.S. Navy, contracted with the West Virginia National Guard to run its Operational Stock (Ops Stock) program to store and maintain equipment for naval operations at the Guard's Combined Support Maintenance Shop facility in Red House.  The equipment maintained by the National Guard as part of the Ops Stock program used diesel fuel.

In a related matter, Charles Raymond Franklin, 59, of Red House, was charged in July in a three-count indictment for conspiring to steal and receive public property and conspiring to receive stolen government property. Franklin is accused of knowingly receiving about 196 gallons of diesel fuel that was stolen from the National Guard's Combined Support Maintenance Shop on Feb. 15, 2013.

Franklin faces up to five years on the receiving stolen property charge and up to 10 years in prison on each charge of conspiring to receive stolen government property, if convicted.  Franklin also faces a $250,000 fine on each count, Goodwin said.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Blaire Malkin is in charge of the prosecution.