ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An officer with the Anchorage Police Department is facing wire fraud charges after an investigation revealed that he and a senior executive with Conoco Phillips allegedly defrauded the oil company for millions of dollars, officials say.
According to Alaska Public Radio, Forrest Wright and Nathan Keays—the Conoco employee and the Anchorage officer, respectively—reportedly created a scheme in which payments would be made to a company called EcoEdge for services never rendered.
Wright allegedly established the company as a vendor to ConocoPhillips and instructed Keays on how to submit fraudulent invoices.
“Keays had zero knowledge of the oil and gas industry,” the charges say, “To overcome this obstacle, Wright and Keyes conspired to provide technical emails to Victim Business that appeared to be from Keays, when they were in fact composed by Wright.”
Following a probe by the FBI, prosecutors filed charges on Wednesday.
The charges say Wright received a 50 percent kickback on the money he directed to Keays.
An FBI agents’ review of Keays’s personal email account found that he had deleted nearly all emails from Wright, an indication that, “as a veteran law enforcement officer, Keays likely knew what he was doing … was fraudulent in nature,” the charges say.
According to the charges, Wright admitted during an interview with an FBI agent that setting up EcoEdge as a vendor had been fraudulent, and he seemed to be trying to protect Keays at one point, saying he had deleted emails to Keays. But the charges say the FBI found several of Wright’s emails that corroborate the scheme.
Anchorage Police Department placed Keays on paid leave in December after learning of the allegations. He is now on unpaid leave.
“Officer misconduct will not be tolerated, and this allegation is in no way a reflection on the dedication and professionalism of the men and women who continue to serve Anchorage residents,” Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll said in the statement.
An initial court hearing on the case had not been scheduled as of Thursday, and neither Wright or Keays had attorneys listed, Alaska Public Radio reported.
ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said in a statement that the company has recovered more than $3 million of the stolen money through its lawsuit.
“We are pleased to see that the perpetrators of this fraud are being brought to justice,” Lowman wrote. “ConocoPhillips will continue to cooperate with the authorities on this matter.”
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