McLEAN, Va. — A former contractor was charged Friday with making false statements as military investigators probe the apparent theft of nearly $40 million in fuel from a U.S. Army base in Iraq.

Lee William Dubois of Lexington, S.C., was arrested Friday at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. At an initial appearance in federal court in Alexandria, Dubois was ordered held pending a detention hearing on Monday.

In a court affidavit, an Army investigator said Dubois and his conspirators stole 10.5 million gallons of jet and diesel fuel valued at $39.6 million from Camp Liberty in Baghdad.

The fuel was allegedly taken between June 2007 and May 2008, and sold on the black market.

The affidavit states that Dubois fraudulently obtained access cards that allowed him to tap into the base's fuel tanks. The gas would be hauled away in truck convoys, typically in 30,000-gallon increments.

Specifically, Dubois and his conspirators would use the names of legitimate contractors in Iraq on fraudulent authorization forms seeking access to the base's fuel tanks, the affidavit said.

Dubois served briefly in 2007 and 2008 as a project representative for Future Services General Trading and Contracting Co., an Iraq contractor based in Kuwait. A call to the company's founder, Fouad Zaidan, was not immediately returned Friday.

The affidavit indicates that Future Services fired Dubois in March, before the Army began its investigation.

The case is being investigated by the Army's Kuwait Fraud Task Force, which is investigating corruption and major fraud cases stemming from the global war on terrorism.

The criminal complaint against Dubois charged him with making false statements, not theft. Prosecutors did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment Friday, but it is not uncommon to file limited charges at the time of arrest and seek additional charges when the case is brought to a grand jury.

Dubois was assigned a public defender, Kenneth Troccoli, who had not yet been able to review the case and declined comment.

An Army spokesman said he had no information on the case.

The Army's contracting procedures in Iraq have been the subject of harsh criticism from auditors and Congress.

Since 2005, the Army Criminal Investigation Command has opened 168 investigations related to contract fraud in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, a spokesman said last month. Most of those investigations are ongoing.