An independent contractor for a trucking company in Afghanistan that was responsible for delivering fuel to U.S. Army installations was sentenced to four years in prison today for offering a U.S. Army serviceman $54,000 in bribes to falsify documents confirming the receipt of fuel shipments that were never actually delivered.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie of the Eastern District of New York, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko, Assistant Director in Charge Diego Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer Jr. of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations’ (ICE-HSI) New York Field Office and Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID) made the announcement.
Akbar Ahmed Sherzai, 50, of Centreville, Virginia, pleaded guilty on Feb. 14, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Margo K. Brodie of the Eastern District of New York ordered Sherzai to forfeit $54,000.
In connection with his guilty plea and in other court documents, Sherzai acknowledged that he was employed by a local Afghan trucking company contracted to transport fuel between U.S. military bases in Afghanistan. Sherzai acknowledged that, in April 2013, he approached a U.S. military serviceman to discuss instances in which his company failed to deliver the fuel—called “no-show” missions—which resulted in a $75,000 fine to his company for each no-show. Sherzai admitted that he offered the serviceman bribes to falsify documents to confirm deliveries, so that Sherzai’s company and others could recover the fines they had paid for no-shows. On several occasions, Sherzai paid cash bribes to the serviceman, who, unbeknownst to Sherzai, was working with law enforcement. In total, Sherzai acknowledged that he paid the serviceman $54,000 to falsify documents relating to nine deliveries, allowing his company and others to avoid or recover $675,000 in fines.
This matter was investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, FBI, ICE-HSI and CID. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Daniel Butler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amir H. Toossi of the Eastern District of New York.