The ex-wife of a former trucking company owner accused of masterminding a murder-for-hire scheme in the Bakken oil field that claimed two lives is expected to plead guilty to fraud charges.
The defendant, Sarah Creveling, was expected to appear in federal court for trial later this month, but court records in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota indicate that a plea deal has been reached. She is expected to appear in federal court in Bismarck for sentencing on April 11. She faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and a fine of $250,000.
Creveling was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and three counts of money laundering in connection with a scheme that prosecutors say bilked investors out of more than $1.7 million through a trucking company run by her and her former husband James Terry Henrikson. Henrikson is serving two life sentences for orchestrating a murder-for-hire plot.
Creveling was indicted by federal authorities in September 2015 for her role in a scheme in which she and her co-conspirator sought and received cash payments for the purchase of trucks and other equipment from investors, to whom they promised 12.5 percent return on investment of the gross monthly profits generated by the trucks and trailers, according to an indictment filed against her in U.S. District Court of North Dakota.
The conspiracy involved allegations that Creveling diverted the funds meant for investors to another incorporated company, and then claiming to the investors that the trucks were operating at a loss, or were damaged, destroyed or in need of extensive repairs. Creveling and her co-conspirator would then mail the investors a release which would authorize her company to sell or part-out the unprofitable or damaged trucks and trailers with the promise of sending them the monies earned from the sale or scrap of the vehicle, facilitating the seemingly lawful transfer of the equipment from the investors into other companies owned by Creveling.
The complaint alleges the conspiracy was carried out from January 2011 to January 2014.
Henrikson was sentenced May 24, 2016 in U.S. District Court in Spokane, Wash. In February, a federal jury found Henrikson guilty of 10 counts of murder-for-hire and conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder-for-hire, as well as one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin.
The owner of several trucking companies that were heavily invested in oil operations in the Bakken oil patch, Henrikson was accused of arranging the murder of a former business partner, Doug Carlile in December 2013, and Kristopher “KC” Clarke, a former employee, in February 2012. Three of the men whom prosecutors named as co-conspirators in arranging and carrying out the contract killings pleaded guilty to related charges and testified during Henrikson’s trial.
Henrikson and the other men all worked together in various ventures in North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch.
He and several of his indicted co-conspirators initially pleaded guilty to murder-for-hire and solicitation to commit murder-for-hire last September. Henrikson however, changed his plea and went to trial because he was not made aware of the mandatory minimum penalty of life imprisonment prior to entering his guilty plea.
Per court records and accounts of the trial, Henrikson wanted to kill Carlile, an investor who refused to give up his stake in an oil lease and who allegedly owed Henrikson money. Carlile was shot multiple times at close range in his Spokane home. Clarke was killed because he planned to start a competing trucking company. According to court records, Clarke was beaten to death at his shop, but his body was never recovered.
One of the co-conspirators, Timothy Suckow, a man Henrikson hired to carry out the murders and paid $20,000, pleaded guilty in September 2015 to killing the two men. Another co-defendant, Robert Delao, pleaded guilty to helping to arrange Carlile’s murder by acting as a middleman between Henrikson and Suckow.
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