On April 9, 2008 Matthew W. Bittenbender, a U.S. Department of Defense (“DOD”) contractor pled guilty to conspiring to steal competitive information regarding the supply of fuel to DOD aircraft around the world. Aviation fuel is obtained by the DOD through the Defense Energy Support Center (“DESC”) which lets contracts for a variety of products. The fuel is delivered worldwide to locations, including Croatia, Bulgaria and Afghanistan. Mr. Bittendender was an employee of Avcard, a division of Kropp Holdings LLC, that provided aviation products and services throughout the world.
Mr. Bittenbender was accused of selling trade secrets to Avcard’s competitors Far East Russia Aircraft Services Inc. (“FERAS”) and Aerocontrol Ltd. As a result, FERAS and Aerocontrol underbid Avcard at every location where the companies were bidding together. Avcard lost every one of those bids. Christopher Cartwright and Paul Wilkinson, along with their respective companies, FERAS and Aerocontrol were indicted on related charges.
According to the plea agreement, Mr. Bittenbender will continue to cooperate in the ongoing investigation. The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.