August 11, 2016
Former International Fugitive Sentenced in Texas to 5 Years and To Pay $3.3 Million for Evading Motor Fuel Taxes
On August, 11, 2016, Yousef Ishaq Abuteir was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Houston, Texas, for his role in a conspiracy to evade motor fuel taxes. Abuteir was sentenced to 60 months imprisonment and ordered to pay joint and several restitution of $3,328,459 along with his two previously sentenced co-conspirators.
Abuteir and two co-conspirators pleaded guilty to conspiracy in April 2008 related to a scheme they devised to obtain untaxed kerosene from a Louisiana refinery by fraudulently representing that the kerosene would be exported out of the United States or used for specific tax-exempt purchases. Instead, the fuel was taken to Houston, where it was blended with other combustible waste products and sold as tax-paid diesel. During the course of the conspiracy, Abuteir and the other defendants obtained over 13 million gallons of untaxed kerosene, which resulted in a tax loss to the United States in excess of $3 million.
After pleading guilty to the Federal conspiracy charge in April 2008, Abuteir was convicted by the State of Texas for evading motor fuel taxes. After the State conviction, he fled to Israel, where he was incarcerated on unrelated charges. In September 2015, Israel transferred custody of Abuteir to the United States. He was sentenced to a 7-year imprisonment by the State of Texas. According to a multi-jurisdiction prosecution agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs and the State of Texas, Abuteir will begin his term of imprisonment with the State of Texas and then serve his Federal prison sentence with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Texas Comptroller’s Office.