Missouri trucking company allegedly bilked shipper $850,000

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 3/6/2012

Investigators say a Missouri trucking company inflated shipping invoices and billable miles on purchase orders – allegedly bilking one shipper out of $850,000.

According to a federal indictment, the owners of J&M Trucking Inc., of Lebanon, MO, allegedly worked together to inflate billable miles on purchase orders made by Tracker Marine, a Springfield, MO-based boat and trailer manufacturer.

Tracker had contracted with J&M to haul boats and trailers to Tracker dealerships throughout North America.

Court documents show J&M Owners James Keith Ivey, 51, and Melinda Kay Ivey, 42, of Lebanon, MO, conspired with company transportation manager Paul Ray Hunting, 39. All were charged in a 24-count indictment allegedly conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, money laundering and incorrect statements.

The Iveys allegedly paid Hunting $265,775 in the scheme, which lasted between 2006 and 2008. J&M paid its drivers for the amount they actually drove, though they added about $300 worth of false mileage to its bills to Tracker, court documents show.

Prosecutors allege that Hunting claimed some of the payments from the company owners as revenue from a catering business.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mohlhenrich and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.

During initial appearances Monday, each defendant pleaded not guilty, court records show.

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