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DOJ Files Enforcement Actions Against Aviation Fuel International And Its Former Owner
By Mike Mitchell

August 15, 2013 - The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division files enforcement actions against Aviation Fuel International and its former owner Sean E. Wagner in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida. 

In July Wagner, a former owner and operator of two Florida based airline fuel supply service companies, was arrested and went before a West Palm Beach judge on charges of participating in a scheme to defraud bankrupted Rockford, Illinois based Ryan International Airlines a charter airline company. 

In the Grand Jury Indictment, the grand jury believed Wagner participated in a conspiracy to defraud Ryan International Airlines by making kickback payments to Wayne Kepple, the former vice president of ground operations for Ryan International Airlines who was in charge of contracting with providers of goods and services on behalf of the company. 


In exchange, Kepple awarded business to Wagner’s fuel supply service companies. From at least as early as December 2005 through at least August 2009, Wagner and his companies made kickback payments totaling more than $200,000, in the form of checks, wire transfers, gift cards and cash, to Kepple while working at Ryan International Airlines. 

Ryan International Airlines (FAR 121 airline) provided air passenger and cargo services for corporations, private individuals, and the U.S. government, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service. 

In 2006, Ryan held a number of contracts working mainly for the Department of Defense and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In 2008, it had to terminate some of its contracts following the failure of European carrier Futura International Airways, from which Ryan International Airlines had leased several aircraft which supported its operations.



In November 2011, Ryan took delivery an Airbus A330-300, which it leased from Virgin Atlantic Airways. In February 2012, Ryan furloughed Pilots, Flight Attendants and support staff. On March 6, 2012, Ryan filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing "unexpected and dramatic reductions in military flying." On April 1, 2012, Ryan lost its bid to continue flying for the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The loss of the DHS contract resulted in the immediate grounding of four MD-80 aircraft to cut costs.  

On August 1, 2012, Ryan returned its A330-300 to Virgin Atlantic, ending its lease and accepting an older model A330-200 formerly operated by Atlasjet. Fifteen days later Ryan announced it would furlough 30 pilots and 60 flight attendants. On January 11, 2013, Ryan International Airlines' CEO announced that the airline had gone into liquidation. Its staff was dismissed and the company ceased operations. 

December 8, 2005, Kepple receives $5,000.00 check
October 6, 2006, Kepple receives $3,500.00 by a wire transfer
November 16, 2007, Kepple receives $10,000.00 by a wire transfer
August 27, 2008 Kepple receives Interstate wire transfer of $5,000.00
November 3, 2008 Kepple receives $5,000.00 in American Express gift cards
May 12, 2009 Kepple receives $5,000.00 in cash
June 29, 2009 Kepple receives $2,000.00 in cash
July 3, 2009, Kepple receives $5,000.00 in cash 

The Justice Department is asking the court that upon conviction of one or more of the offenses alleged in Counts one through five of the Indictment, Aviation Fuel International, Inc. and Sean E. Wagner, forfeit to the United States any property, real or personal, which constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the violations or to seek forfeiture of any other property of the defendants up to the value of the above forfeitable property. 

Wagner began his career in the aviation industry in 1987 when he was a A & P mechanic at Air Repair located at Opa-locka, Executive Airport. In 1992, Wagner gained employment with World Fuel Services in their dispatch division. In a short time he was promoted to sales where he developed a large portfolio of customers for World Fuel Services. In 1994 he was promoted to Vice-President of Sales. Two years later he was promoted to executive Vice-President of Sales.  

During his employment with World Fuel Services the company saw growth from $10 to more than $10 billion. In 2006, Wagner formed Aviation Fuel International, Inc. (AFI), which became a multi-million dollar operation fueling aircrafts domestically and around the globe. In 2012, Wagner sold Aviation Fuel International Inc to Fuelstream, Inc. 

Wagner was hired by Fuelstream as Executive Vice-President of Global Sales. His bio reads he “resides in Davie, Florida, married with three children enjoys tennis, golf, and has a passion for Formula 1 racing. Since 2002, he has competed in numerous Major Formula racing events, most recently, placing first in a National competition at Daytona International Raceway”.

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