In June 2007, the State of Texas charged Yousef Abuteir with Evading Motor Fuel Taxes and Engaging in a Motor Fuel Tax Scheme. In July 2007, the United States charged Abuteir with Conspiracy and Motor Fuel Tax Evasion. In April 2008 Abuteir pled guilty to the federal charges and in December 2008 he was found guilty after a jury trial on the state charges. In 2009 Abuteir failed to appear for sentencing on the state and federal charges and fled the U.S.
According to court documents, from October 2001 to November 2003, Abuteir and others defrauded the United States and the State of Texas out of millions of dollars in motor fuel excise taxes by obtaining tax exempt kerosene under false pretenses. Utilizing the company, Mid-Coast International, Abuteir and others purchased in excess of 13 million gallons of tax-exempt kerosene from a refinery in Louisiana. Abuteir and his co-conspirators falsely stated that the kerosene was purchased for export to Mexico and not for sale within the U.S., making it exempt from motor fuel excise taxes. However, Abuteir and others did not export the kerosene as promised.
The U.S. imposes a federal excise tax on the sale of all fuel used by cars, trucks and buses on the nation’s roadways. These excise taxes are collected by the IRS and deposited into the Highway Trust Fund, which is used by U.S. Department of Transportation to fund the construction and repair of U.S. highways and bridges. Under Abuteir’s instruction, drivers delivered the untaxed fuel to retail gas stations throughout the Houston, Texas area where it was then sold as taxable motor fuel. Abuteir and his co-conspirators then pocketed millions of dollars in motor fuel excise taxes owed to the U.S. and the State of Texas.
Abuteir was born in Israel and was last known to be residing in Houston, Texas.