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Paint Stripper CEO Accused of Bribery

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

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The founder of a paint remover maker faces up to 60 years in prison after his indictment on bribery charges and lying about whether his product met military standards, officials announced.

A federal grand jury indicted Christopher Houston Hensley, 56, of Yukon, OK, on three counts of bribing a public official, one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, and two counts of making false statements to the federal government, the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma, announced Thursday (Dec. 4).

Hensley is the founder and president of Oklahoma City-based Aerochem Inc., a manufacturer of paint remover products sold to Tinker Air Force Base and other military bases for several years.

Rings, Boats & Cash

The indictment alleges that Hensley developed a relationship with the depaint section chief for an aircraft maintenance squadron at Tinker.

From 2005 to 2008, Hensley provided "several items of value" to the section chief, including cash, a wedding ring, and a bass boat, authorities said.

Tinker Air Force Base
Tinker AFB / Mike W. Ray

Christopher Houston Hensley, president of Aerochem, is accused of bribing the depaint section chief for aircraft maintenance at Tinker Air Force Base in exchange for favorable treatment of his products.

Hensley is charged with three counts of making a bribe to the Tinker depaint section chief. The counts separately allege that he provided the official with:

  • $1,200 in 2007 to buy a wedding ring;
  • About $1,100 in cruise tickets in 2009; and
  • A $7,500 boat in 2010 in Aerochem's name for his use.

The indictment further alleges that Hensley and a former Aerochem employee conspired from about 2008 to 2012 to bribe the section chief with food, alcohol, trips to strip clubs, and cruise tickets.

Paying for Favorable Treatment

The indictment also alleges that the Aerochem employee, without Hensley's knowledge, routinely made cash payments in 2011 and 2012 of $300 to $500 to the section chief based on how much depaint product Tinker was buying from Aerochem.

Aerochem also allegedly had a similar relationship with a supervisor of a division at Corpus Christi Army Depot that stripped paint off helicopter parts used by the U.S. military. Hensley and the former Aerochem employee allegedly provided entertainment, wire transfers, and over $3,000 in cash to the Corpus Christi supervisor in exchange for favorable treatment, authorities said..

False Product Certifications

The indictment also alleges that Hensley falsely recertified to the federal government that an Aerochem product, Aerostrip 5182, met qualification requirements for sales to military bases. Hensley allegedly provided the false certifications to the Air Force in 2011 and to the Corpus Christi Army Depot in 2013.

Christopher Houston Hensley
Tinker AFB / Margo Wright

Hensley also allegedly falsified documents to show that one of his products was approved for use at military bases, prosecutors said..

In both cases, Hensley did not have laboratory testing reports showing the product actually passed all military conformance standards for the depaint product, the indictment alleges.

Plans to Plead Not Guilty

"We've reviewed [the charges], we're familiar with them, we intend to plead not guilty and will vigorously defend them," defense attorney Mack Martin told the Associated Press.

If convicted, Hensley faces up to 15 years in prison for each of three bribery counts, and up to five years for the conspiracy count and two false statement counts. He could also receive an additional $250,000 fine on each count if convicted.

Arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 29, the AP reported.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, FBi, and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.


Tagged categories: Coating Materials; Coatings manufacturers; Contractors; Ethics; Government contracts; Laws and litigation; North America; Paint Removal; U.S. Air Force

Comment from John Fauth, (12/9/2014, 8:43 AM)

Two things jumped out to me about this article. First, there's no mention of what charges the depaint section chief is facing for his participation in the bribery scheme (SURELY he's being prosecuted). And second, a $ 1,200 engagement ring... really?

Comment from john lienert, (12/9/2014, 9:36 AM)

OH! said "stripper in cans"....i thought you said "stripper in clubs"

Comment from Randy Gordon, (12/9/2014, 10:53 AM)

Haha! Me too.

Comment from Franklin Teagle, (12/9/2014, 10:59 AM)

a bass boat, and a ?1,200 ring!? rednecks in the paint industry...

Comment from David Lemke, (12/9/2014, 6:53 PM)

I guess strippers don't have expensive tastes in engagement rings.

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