Texas Comptroller Helps Feds Crack Down
on Fuel Thefts from Military Base
AUSTIN — Three men who conspired to steal $290,000 worth of aviation fuel from Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso have been sentenced to federal prison time after an extensive investigation by federal authorities and the Texas Comptroller’s office. A fourth was sentenced to federal probation.
The Comptroller’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) helped gather evidence and worked with investigators from the Department of Defense - Criminal Investigation Service; Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations; U.S. Department of Transportation - Office of the Inspector General; and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command - Major Procurement Fraud Unit.
Comptroller Susan Combs has enhanced the role of CID to help federal investigations along with pursuing criminal activity on state taxes.
“Federal investigators can leverage our expertise in catching tax cheats to help with their investigations, and we are glad to help them every chance we can,” Combs said. “We have statutory authority to share state tax information that can help federal investigators gain insight into the operations of a business. This ensures that law enforcement has every mechanism possible to prosecute criminals.”
Two of the four men involved in the conspiracy, Tomas Quintero and Luis Campos, were employees of a contractor which provided fuel to military and federal civilian aircraft at Biggs Army Airfield. The remaining co-defendants, brothers Fernando J. Baca and Richard Baca, owned gravel truck companies.
From 2007 to 2010, Quintero and Campos conspired to steal aviation fuel from Biggs Army Airfield and sold it to the Bacas who used it for their commercial gravel trucks.
After pleading guilty in March to one count of conspiracy to commit theft and one count of tax evasion, Quintero was sentenced May 31 to 30 months in federal prison. Campos, who pled guilty in March to conspiracy to commit theft, was sentenced to four months in federal prison. Fernando Baca pled guilty to conspiracy to commit theft and IRS-related charges, and received 15 months in prison. Richard Baca was sentenced to 5 years probation for conspiracy to commit theft.
The defendants were also ordered to pay restitution to the Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Department of Transportation and Internal Revenue Service. Quintero was ordered to pay $362,134; Campos, $318,328; Fernando Baca, $343,832, and Ricardo Baca, $83,815.
In the last few months Comptroller investigators assisted in several investigations around the state that have resulted in federal indictments, including ten Austin-area residents on federal drug and money laundering charges.