Missouri trucking company owners convicted in $900,000 scheme

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 8/15/2012

A husband and wife who are owners of a Missouri-based trucking company were convicted of fraud this week during a trial that took place in Springfield, MO. Prosecutors proved the couple inflated purchase orders and shipping invoices during a three-year period, defrauding boat and trailer manufacturer Tracker Marine, another Springfield, MO-based business.

James and Melinda Ivey were found guilty Wednesday, Aug. 15, of fraud conspiracy during a two-day bench trial before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr.

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, 52, and Melinda Kay Ivey, 43, conspired with Tracker transportation manager Paul Ray Hunting, 39.

The Iveys 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.

In late February, the Iveys and Hunting were charged 24-count indictment allegedly conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, money laundering and incorrect statements.

Hunting pleaded guilty in March 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 $265,775 in restitution.

In addition to the fraud conspiracy charge, the Iveys were convicted for a money-laundering conspiracy, and were also convicted together in nine counts of wire fraud. James Ivey was convicted of 10 additional wire fraud counts. They each were convicted of one count of making false statements to federal agents.

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

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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