Arkansas man suspected of embezzling from trucking company

| 11/13/2001

An Arkansas man who allegedly embezzled more than $100,000 from a trucking company was arrested Nov. 8 on suspicion of theft by deception. An official at the company reportedly became suspicious after an unusually large number of claims had been filed.

Joe Pratt, of Fort Smith, is suspected of defrauding USA Truck, of Van Buren, AR, where he was employed as director of pricing, by filing bogus claims for damaged merchandise, according to published reports. Since April 1999, Pratt is suspected of filing about 30 false claims.

Police believe Pratt filed some of the bogus claims in the names of real companies and some in the name of a fictitious company. After the claims were approved, Pratt would alter the claim forms to show the name of the fictitious company, and when checks were issued to the phony company, Pratt allegedly pocketed them. The money has not been recovered.