Missouri trucking defendant pleads guilty in $850,000 fraud case

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Missouri man who worked as a trucking company transportation manager has pleaded guilty to his role in a fraud scheme that involved padded mileage numbers.

According to a federal indictment, three individuals with 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. In late February, the Iveys and Hunting were charged in a 24-count indictment with allegedly conspiring to defraud the United States, wire fraud, money laundering and incorrect statements.

Hunting pleaded guilty last week to three charges tied to the case, including fraud, money-laundering, and failure to make an income tax return for 2007. He also agreed to pay Tracker Marine $265,775 in restitution.

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 their 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.

Hunting faces a prison sentence of up to 26 years and a possible fine of $850,000.

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.

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