Contractors Arrested for DOD Fueling Conspiracy

 - January 10, 2008, 9:52 AM

On Sunday, authorities arrested Christopher Cartwright and Paul Wilkinson in New York City, accusing them, along with Far East Russia Aircraft Services (Feras), Aerocontrol and Matthew Bittenbender, of “conspiring to steal information relating to U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contracts to supply fuel to DOD aircraft worldwide,” according to the Department of Justice. Cartwright and Wilkinson are officers of Feras, and both cofounded Aerocontrol in 2005. From February 2005 to July 2006, “Cartwright, Wilkinson, Feras and Aerocontrol conspired with Bittenbender to defraud the United States, commit wire fraud and steal trade secrets.” Bittenbender, a former senior contract fuel manager at Avcard, allegedly traded information about DOD fuel supply contract bids that he obtained while working at Avcard for a flat fee plus 10 percent of the profit on DOD contracts that Feras and Aerocontrol won as a result of Bittenbender’s alleged information theft. Universal Weather & Aviation, which owns a 51-percent stake in Feras, “is not named as a defendant and is not accused of any wrongdoing,” a Universal spokeswoman told AIN, adding that it is cooperating fully with the investigation. A Feras spokesman declined to comment, and Aerocontrol did not respond to inquiries by press time.