By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer
The owner of several trucking companies who provided trucks and drivers for state road construction projects has been indicted in federal court in Minnesota. Marlon Louis Danner, 66, of Inver Grove Heights, MN, is accused of allegedly forcing drivers who received court-ordered payments from his company to return their checks to him.
According to court documents filed on Dec. 21, Danner, operator of Danner Inc. and Bull Dog Leasing Inc., was indicted on six counts of wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, and one count of making a false statement.
According to the indictment, Danner had been required to pay more than $185,000 to 27 independent drivers he contracted with in 2008 and 2009 on a joint highway construction project with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.
Since federal funding was used, Danner was contractually obligated to pay the drivers a certain truck rental rate, but it was later discovered that he underpaid them. In February 2010, Danner settled with MnDOT and issued checks to the agency to then distribute to the drivers.
Beginning in late February through June, Danner “began a campaign to obtain return of the MnDOT/Danner settlement funds from the drivers, without informing MnDOT that he was doing so,” according to court documents.
One of the tactics Danner allegedly used included calling drivers who received their checks, stating that MnDOT had made a mistake and that the drivers had not been underpaid after all.
In all, Danner received back more than $120,000 of the $185,000 he was required to pay drivers in settlement money.
If convicted, Danner faces a maximum penalty of 20 years on each wire and mail fraud count and five years on the false statement charge.
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