Investigations

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Former Employee at Seattle Fuel Terminal Pleads Guilty in Case Involving Over $3.9 Million of Stolen Motor Fuel

On April 27, Christy Sue Rawls, former automation clerk at Kinder Morgan Energy Partners' (KMP's) Terminal 18 in the Port of Seattle, pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle to charges of conspiracy and theft of interstate shipments in connection with the theft of more than $3.9 million in motor fuel over a period of several years. In March 2006, a grand jury indicted Rawls and four other individuals (two employees of KMP and two employees of General Transport, a Seattle fuel delivery company). Our investigation found that Rawls participated in the scheme by providing a monthly computation of the terminal's fuel 'variance' (a volume below which theft of fuel would likely escape notice by KMP). Using the information from Rawls, others involved in the scheme allegedly stole the fuel and re-sold it to gasoline stations operating in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. Rawls also admitted to deleting some bills of lading from the terminal's computer system to conceal fuel thefts. KMP initially detected the fuel discrepancies through an internal audit in October 2004. Rawls is scheduled for sentencing in July. Our ongoing investigation is being conducted jointly with the IRS-CID and Port of Seattle Police.