A driver for a fuel oil supplier here was arrested yesterday and charged with embezzlement after the company had complained that some customers were not receiving oil in the amounts billed, police said.

After an investigation, police said, they found what they described as an operation in which oil was being diverted from scheduled customers and sold to others at reduced prices.

Police said John Pierce, 31, of 522 70th St., Seat Pleasant was arrested and charged with embezzlement. They said Pierce had worked for about seven years for the Hessick Fuel Oil Co., 33 New York Ave. NE.

According to the consumer fraud unit, jointly operated by the D.C. police and the U.S. Attorney's Office here, the investigation leading to the arrest when officials of the oil company discovered through an internal audit that some oil was apparently not being delivered in the amounts billed.

After further investigation by the company, the fraud unit was alerted, according to detectives Bobby Moore and Walter Franick.

Moore and Franick headed a six-man surveillance team that began following a delivery truck on its rounds, police said.

They said two members of the team visited customers in advance of scheduled deliveries, to measure the amount of oil then in the customer's tanks.

They said other detectives followed the truck, and questioned persons at premises where the truck stopped.

Some of the premises at which the 3,600-gallon fuel oil truck stopped were not on the scheduled delivery list, the detectives said.

Over a two-day period, the detectives said, they found apparent discrepancies in billing that involved 1,000 gallons of oil selling at 49 cents a gallon.

They said Pierce was arrested on a warrant yesterday at the Hessick offices.