Five years of false requisitions worth $2.7 million from Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services have led to convictions on several charges for a retired Army master sergeant and his wife.
Francisco Javier De La Maza and his wife, Gabriela De La Maza, were sentenced Aug. 30 in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Texas, in San Antonio. Francisco was sentenced to 40 months confinement and 36 months of probation based on a guilty plea to one count of theft of government property and one count of conspiracy to money launder. Gabriela was sentenced to 60 months of probation based on a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to money launder.
The two were also jointly sentenced to forfeiture of $860,863.07 for restitution and forfeiture of four pieces of real property with an appraised value of $672,000.
Restitution will go to DLA Disposition Services as the victim of the fraud, explained Supervisory Special Agent Kathy Roberts, Western Region chief for the DLA Office of the Inspector General.
Between late 2004 and his retirement in 2009, Francisco De La Maza made illegal requisitions from DLA Disposition Services on behalf of his Army unit, at Fort Hood, Texas, Roberts said. Items requisitioned and later sold for the De La Mazas’ personal profit included: computers, computer equipment and uniforms, Roberts said.
In early 2010, a DLA Disposition Services employee in San Antonio contacted her local DLA IG office to report suspicions about Francisco De La Maza’s requisitions. Tami Hooker, senior special agent for the DLA OIG, began an investigation that eventually included the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Army Criminal Investigation Command, Roberts said. The U.S. Department of Justice Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas handled the prosecution.
DLA Disposition Services’ primary mission is to make equipment and material that are no longer needed by one unit available to other units. Roberts said that aside from the monetary loss to DLA Disposition Services, the De La Mazas’ actions also potentially hurt other military units because the illegally requisitioned material wasn’t available through DLA Disposition Services.
She also praised the attentiveness of the DLA Disposition Services employee who came forward with her concerns.
“In this case, an employee thought something suspicious was going on,” Roberts said. “She didn’t know the whole story, but it was enough to make us look further.”
Roberts said DLA OIG agents often talk to agency employees about the IG role, and their main message to the workforce is to alert their local DLA IG office to any suspicions of wrongdoing.
“If you notice anything suspicious, call us, even if it’s the smallest thing,” she said.