U.S. oil man gets jail time in Iraq oil-for-food scam
Texas oil magnate Oscar Wyatt is sentenced to a year in prison for paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's former government.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Texas oil man Oscar Wyatt was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to a year in prison for his part in a scheme involving kickbacks paid to the former Iraqi government to participate in the United Nations' oil-for-food program.
Wyatt pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
In addition to the jail sentence, Wyatt also sent the government an $11 million check.
Before sentencing, the 83-year-old oil man addressed the court, breaking down in tears and apologizing.
The oil-for-food program was designed to allow Iraq, which was under heavy sanctions at the time, to sell its oil and use the proceeds for humanitarian purposes. But Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein began charging kickbacks for the right to buy Iraqi oil.
Government evidence showed that Wyatt spoke personally to Hussein about the program.
Wyatt pleaded guilty four weeks into his trial as the prosecution was preparing to rest its case. Under the agreement reached by the government and Wyatt's defense, the oil man was to serve 18 to 24 months in prison. But U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin exercised his right to alter the agreement and sentenced Wyatt to the lesser term.