Trucker pleads guilty to fuel card scheme

A trucker faces sentencing July 8 after pleading guilty to using fuel cards without authorization to steal more than $300,000 from the U.S. Postal Service.

On March 11, Vincenzo Bender, 36, of Collings Lakes, N.J., entered a guilty plea to one count of theft of government property before U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas in Camden, N.J.

Bender had been employed by an Ocean, N.J., trucking company that contracted with the USPS for long-haul mail delivery. The USPS gave Voyager fuel credit cards to the company and the agency was billed directly for all charges incurred, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Camden.

Bender admitted that from November 2005 to October 2008, he used the cards to make numerous unauthorized purchases of fuel for personal use, including for his side towing business and to sell to others at a discount.

Bender used cards issued to trucks he drove and to trucks operated by other drivers for the theft and installed a 100-gallon rubber bladder in his personal truck to hold additional fuel.

The charge’s maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the amount of loss Bender caused. He agreed to pay $335,972 in restitution. The judge  released him on a $50,000 bond until sentencing.