NBC 7 reviewed federal audits and discovered around 260 instances of gas theft committed by government workers since 2010 totaling more than $2.4 million. The government workers, including two from San Diego, filled up their personal vehicles using gas cards that were funded by taxpayer money.
The U.S. General Services Administration distributed more than 590,000 gas cards to federal employees for use among the 150,000 government fleet vehicles. It’s possible to track gas purchases through a system that alerts investigators of suspicious purchases.
In San Diego, two military personal stole more than $5,000 between the two of them. In 2012, a Navy engineer from El Centro was convicted of stealing government funds. He was placed on 6-months probation and ordered to pay $3,169 in restitution. In July 2013, a lance corporal from Camp Pendleton faced a court martial for the $2,201 in gas purchases he made.
Acting inspector general of the GSA, Bob Erickson, thinks it’s all about opportunity and greed: “There is a variety of motives. Sometimes it’s a well put together scheme to defraud the U.S. Sometimes it’s just someone who decides they’re not getting paid enough and wants to get a bonus using the government credit card.”