truck broker Byron Hunt, 53, was ordered to Florida’s Polk
County Jail Oct. 21 and later released after posting a $15,000
bond. He was charged with scheming to defraud owner-operators
and could receive a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
did business with the Imperial Group, is scheduled for
a pre-trial conference Feb. 25, 2003, in Polk County. The
conference is open to the public and is the last court appearance
before trial. It is generally the last time a defendant can
enter a negotiated plea before trial.
are a victim and wish to attend this proceeding, call Angie
Kirkland at the State Attorney’s Office at (863) 534-4804
to find out the courtroom location. Hearings are always scheduled
for 8:30 a.m.
arrest came after nearly three years of documentation and
effort by OOIDA’s Business Services unit to get Imperial
to pay owner-operators for trips Imperial arranged. Hunt
told investigators the nation’s slow economy was the primary
reason for Imperial’s failure to pay numerous carriers and
owner-operators the past two years.
stems from a combination of alleged offenses outlined by
14 OOIDA members and other firms doing business with Imperial.
According to a 20-page complaint filed by the 10th Judicial
Circuit State Attorney’s Office, Hunt was general manager
and broker for Imperial Group Inc., a truck brokerage firm,
at the time of the offense.
in this position, the defendant entered into a systematic
ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud small independent
trucking companies by refusing to pay for the services rendered.
total loss represented in this complaint is in excess of
$50,000 … About 30 trucking companies … have provided freight
transportation to Imperial Group and not been paid for their
services," the complaint said.