Hearing for ex-Kephart CEO postponed due to lack of lawyer

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 1/29/2015

The preliminary hearing for a former Pennsylvania trucking company CEO has been postponed because the defendant has not been able to secure a lawyer.

The hearing, which began on Wednesday in Clearfield County District Court, was reset for Feb. 4, after the defendant, Timothy Kephart told the judge he had been unable to secure legal representation.

According to news reports from local CBS affiliate WTJA, Kephart told the judge that no private attorneys are willing to represent him without a large retainer. The local public defender’s office also declined to represent him.

Kephart is facing trial on hundreds of criminal charges related to a wage theft scheme involving employees’ 401(k) plans. He is already serving a federal prison sentence in connection with an unrelated check-kiting scheme.

The criminal charges in the current case center around a scheme that purportedly lasted from June 2010 to late 2013, whereby employee withholdings that should have been used for 401(k) contributions, 401(k) loan repayments and medical insurance coverage were instead deposited in the company checking account and used for other expenses.

As a result of the company’s failure to pay medical insurance premiums, the insurance company retroactively canceled the insurance coverage, which caused a number of employees to be responsible for their medical bills, according to a news release issued by the Clearfield County (Pa.) District Attorney’s Office. It was also determined that several employees were not paid for days of service as well as unused and used vacation pay. The investigation revealed at least 131 victims, who reported that Kephart “acknowledged the missing funds and assured everyone that they would be paid back,” the release stated.

The district attorney also announced that the investigation determined that Kephart is alleged to have used diverted business funds for personal use, including the construction of a $300,000 barn located at his residence.

The criminal charges are not the first time Kephart has been brought to court over the pension plans. In September, Timothy Kephart and fellow Kephart Trucking executive David Kephart each reached consent agreements in a civil suit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor to repay more than $254,000 in funds that were pilfered from employee pension plans.

Timothy Kephart’s federal prison sentence stemmed from his conviction in a $3.6 million check-kiting scheme involving Dart Trucking of Columbiana, Ohio, not to be confused with Dart Transit Co. of Eagan, Minn.

Kephart, who was serving as chief executive officer for Dart Trucking, as well as two other executives were found guilty of conspiring to commit bank fraud.

According to court documents, the trucking company executives participated in an elaborate check-kiting scheme, setting up five accounts and “floating” worthless checks from one bank account to another at Huntington Bank in Columbiana from October 2007 to February 2010.

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