Trucking company head admits stealing 401k money

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 9/6/2013

For more than a year, the owner of a Tennessee trucking company collected money for insurance and 401k money from his drivers’ paychecks but never put the money into any programs.

Eventually, employees complained to the U.S. Department of Labor, eventually leading to the 2012 arrest and indictment of William “Billy” Michael Martin, 61, of Gainesboro, Tenn., owner of the Songbird Trucking Company based in Algood, TN.

According to the Herald-Citizen newspaper, from January 2008 through April 2009 Martin withheld money apparently earmarked to pay insurance and 401K contributions, though he never deposited the money into such accounts. Martin did so “with the intent to deprive the owners,” prosecutors alleged.

Martin reportedly diverted $10,000 each from the Songbird 401K and the Songbird Health Corp. insurance program.

Last week, Martin pleaded guilty to one count of theft over $10,000 – a class C felony. The plea was entered in Putnam County Tennessee Judge David Patterson’s Criminal Court last week.

Martin was sentenced to five years of judicial diversion, which is similar to probation. His diversion will be overseen by the Tennessee Department of Corrections, the Herald-Citizen reported.

The newspaper also reported Martin wouldn’t be allowed to “oversee in any way or be the administrator, fiduciary officer, trustee … etc. over any employee benefit plan.”

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