Ex-trucking school director faces charges of embezzling nearly $1 million

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | Monday, September 18, 2017

The former director of HDS Truck Driving Institute in Tucson, Ariz., is accused of embezzling more than $900,000.

On Sept. 1 at the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Robert Alan Knapp entered a not guilty plea for charges of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and federal student aid fraud. In all, Knapp faces 16 felony counts.

According to the indictment filed on Aug. 16, “Knapp developed and intended to develop a scheme and artifice to defraud one or more financial institutions and to obtain money they owned or controlled, including money that represented the proceeds of a federal student financial aid assistance program.”

The indictment accused Knapp intercepting checks drawn on the HDS bank account that were supposed to be payable to students for financial aid and to students who were owed a tuition refund from HDS.

“After intercepting these checks, Knapp deposited them to his Wells Fargo bank account after adding a forged indorsement,” the indictment alleged. “Knapp also caused HDS to generate checks drawn on its J.P. Morgan Chase bank account to pay fictitious financial obligations he created to HDS’ students or the entities paying their tuition, which Knapp then intercepted and deposited to his Wells Fargo bank account after adding a forged indorsement. Finally, Knapp also intercepted checks made payable to HDS from various third parties and deposited them to his Wells Fargo bank account.”

Knapp is accused of depositing and converting to his own use and benefit more than $900,000 from 2008 to 2015.

He was charged with 10 counts of bank fraud, five counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of federal student aid fraud.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, the 69-year-old Knapp made $74,000 a year as the school’s director but was assigned a court-appointed attorney because he said he couldn’t afford to hire his own attorney. Knapp is also facing a civil lawsuit.

A jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 11 in the criminal case.

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