Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023:
Trucking company owner gets 17 years in prison for Ponzi scheme
A Michigan trucking company owner has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for multiple fraud schemes, including a fraudulent trucking company investment Ponzi scheme.
Franklin Ray, 52, of Canton, Michigan, was sentenced to 212 months in prison for engaging in multiple fraud schemes, including a $40 million Ponzi scheme and two COVID-19 loan fraud schemes, and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with one of those schemes. He previously pled guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to a press release from Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, beginning in at least June 2021, Ray began to offer investors an opportunity to invest in his trucking and logistics company, CSA Business Solutions LLC. Specifically, he and the investors entered into contracts in which CSA Business Solutions would procure and operate a truck in its trucking business for each $20,000 contributed by the investor.
Ray told investors that the trucks would perform delivery services for a multinational e-commerce company and/or a multinational shipping company and that the investors would be entitled to 77% of the net income of the trucks. In reality, CSA operated few trucks and had minimal revenues from trucking activities.
Instead, investors in the scheme received payments from new investments into the scheme or from other sources. After the investors purchased the rights to trucks from Ray sent them falsified spreadsheets at regular intervals, purporting to show the performance of their trucks during the relevant period.
He ultimately persuaded approximately 275 investors to invest at least $40 million and fraudulently claimed to have purchased over 2,000 trucks with the investments.
Ray also carried out fraudulent schemes to obtain over $1.9 million in government-guaranteed loans designed to provide relief to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic on behalf of CSA Business Solutions and another Michigan-based trucking company. In connection with these schemes, he submitted false information and forged documents to the Small Business Administration and commercial lenders, claiming the businesses engaged in significant trucking business, when in reality they had minimal revenues and trucking activity.
Another individual pleads guilty in emissions ‘delete’ case
After being one of 11 individuals charged in April for his involvement in a scheme to disable, or “delete,” emissions control devices on hundreds of trucks, James Sisson has pleaded guilty in federal court.
Sisson was an employee at Diesel Freak, which was also charged in the case. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. The 10 other individuals and three companies charged in the case pleaded guilty to the scheme earlier this year.
In September and October, seven individuals and two companies were sentenced for the scheme. Glenn Hoezee, Robert Swainston and Randy “Jeb” Clelland were each sentenced to a year of probation, a $4,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. Ryan Bos was sentenced to a year of probation, a $6,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment.
Accurate Truck Service LLC, and Griffin Transportation, Inc., were each sentenced to a year of probation, a $500,000 fine, and a $400 special assessment. Additionally, Scott DeKock, Craig Scholten, and Douglas Larsen were each sentenced to a year of probation; a $100 special assessment; and $10,000, $6,000, and $7,500 fines, respectively.
Bruckner’s opens three new locations
Bruckner’s Truck & Equipment has opened three new facilities as part of a recent growth period. The company has moved its Monroe, Louisiana, and Fort Smith, Arkansas, locations to new facilities, and has opened a new store in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In Monroe, the new 36,100 sq.-ft., building sitting on 11 acres may be found directly off I-20, easily accessible from exits 120 and 124. This facility replaces Bruckner’s previous location found at 900 Martin Luther King Jr Drive.
Monroe is an Uptime Certified dealer with 50% of its diesel technicians Mack and Volvo Master Certified.
The new Fort Smith location is at 209 Rena Road in Van Buren and is easily accessible from I-40 with frontage facing I-40 and Rena Road. The total building square footage is approximately 33,900. The service area accounts for 19,389 of those sq.-ft., with 18 truck service bays and a center lane for trailer repair. The parts warehouse has 8,788 sq.-ft., of floor space with an additional 3,899 sq.-ft., of upstairs mezzanine space. This facility replaces Bruckner’s previous location found at 2800 Wheeler Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
Finally, the company’s new Tulsa location is found at 5301 W 60th St., Tulsa OK 74107. The new dealership includes 54,000 sq.-ft., and 20 service bays carrying over $2 million in parts inventory offering morning and afternoon parts delivery, the company said.
Tulsa is a Volvo/Mack certified electric vehicle dealership in addition to a Volvo/Mack certified Uptime dealership, the company added.