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Ex-Shell exec sentenced for stealing over $1 million from company NEW ORLEANS

01:11 PM CDT on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 

Michael Luke / Eyewitness News 

NEW ORLEANS – A Mandeville man and former Shell Oil executive was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $2 million in restitution for a scheme to defraud Shell and failure to pay taxes, according to U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

Gregory Courtney, 50, who was an engineer for Shell, acquired a company — Mercury Equipment and Services, Inc. — that was a vendor for Shell, and diverted over $1 million for his personal use from the Mercury maintenance contract with Shell, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He used Mercury to charge Shell for a maintenance contract for storage boxes on offshore oil rigs, though little if any maintenance was performed, according to court documents.

“Quite often crimes of greed include more than concealing income from the IRS,” said IRS Special Agent in Charge Michael J. De Palma.  “This investigation is a prime example of how special agents of IRS criminal investigation work with the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office to bring individuals involved in fraud and conspiracy to justice.  We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to stop those individuals who scheme and conspire with each other to benefit themselves to the detriment of other citizens and their government.”

In addition to the sentence, Judge Kurt Engelhardt ordered that Courtney pay restitution in the amount of $486,771 to the IRS and $1,335,540 to Shell Oil.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he failed to report the income on his taxes in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

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