Employee accused of stealing $18K worth of gas for family, friends

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HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – A Houston man is accused of loading the vehicles of his friends, family members and himself up with more than 5,000 gallons of gasoline, all at the expense of his employer.

Brandon O'Neal Fudge, 37, is charged with aggregate theft. According to court documents, Fudge was a delivery driver for the Billiard Factory located in the 8400 block of N. Sam Houston Parkway West. Each driver is issued a business fuel credit card with a distinctive pin number, and their transactions are tracked by the company. Fudge's transactions allegedly caused a red flag.

A fleet management report is distributed each month and, in this report, each employee is listed by name for each fuel charge, vehicle odometer reading, the location of purchase and fuel type purchased. The average monthly fuel cost is $10,000, but over the past few months, a manager noticed a $3,000 to $4,000 increase in monthly purchases.

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Fudge's transactions included unleaded fuel purchases, but all of the delivery vehicles operated on diesel fuel.

The manager then went to Fudge and expressed his concerns. During questioning, Fudge took the card from his pocket and placed it on the desk. He then allegedly confessed that he had been putting fuel in his personal vehicle, his girlfriend's vehicle and had been meeting other individuals at gas stations and fueling their vehicles in exchange for cash.

Investigators with the Harris County Sheriff's Office questioned Fudge on Wednesday and his confession was recorded. He allegedly admitted to the allegations again, but said he was unsure of the exact amount of fuel that was stolen. He did estimate, however, that he began stealing the gasoline in December 2013.

The actual report showed that the unauthorized purchases began on Nov. 22, 2013, and continued through May 23, 2014. Fudge acquired 5,409 gallons of gasoline, which cost the company $18,573.36.

His bail was set at $36,000.