Stranded by Fraud


Truck drivers have a tough job. They work long hours hauling their loads across country through all kinds of driving conditions. They also spend weeks on the road living in a space the size of a walk-in closet. (That does not sound like much fun.) An article published in the Insurance Journal reports on the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a trucking company who left many of his employees stranded in various parts of the country without a paycheck while he was enjoying his luxury vehicle.

The story states that the former trucking company CEO suddenly suspended operations and laid off hundreds of employees from the family-owned business three days before Christmas. (Further research revealed many of the company’s truckers were stranded at truck stops across the nation, unable to pay for gas, food or lodging because the trucking company’s checks bounced.)

A few days later, the company filed for bankruptcy after a financial institution accused the company of fraud and racketeering. (And as you might have guessed, there were also several employees who decided to sue the company for failure to pay their salary, reimburse expenses or pay medical insurance premiums.)

It turns out that the CEO had incurred a bit of debt as a result of his wedding and the purchase of a Bentley and a Maserati. By failing to account for and pay more than $9 million in payroll taxes, federal income tax, Medicare and Social Security taxes for the trucking company employees, the former CEO was able to cover his personal expenses for a bit. Allegedly assisted by several co-conspirators, the man was able to provide the financial institution with falsified invoices claiming the trucking company was owed more money than it really was. (The bank claimed it was defrauded of $15 million.)

The former CEO pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud, tax fraud and evading his own personal income taxes. He is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison.

It’s hard to tell what sentence the fraudster will receive, but let’s hope that the judge will make sure that this criminal will get a feel for what it is like to be stranded in the penal system in a tiny jail cell without the ability to get out any time soon. Perhaps he’ll be better able to empathize with the truckers he left behind.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Former Arrow Trucking CEO Pleads Guilty in Oklahoma to Fraud Charges,” published in the Insurance Journal on February 9, 2015.

The former CEO of a now-defunct trucking company that left its employees stranded all over the country when it suddenly shut down in December 2009 has pleaded guilty in federal court in Oklahoma to charges of tax evasion and fraud.

James Douglas Pielsticker, former chief executive officer and president of Arrow Trucking Co., pleaded guilty before United States District Court Chief Judge Gregory K. Frizzell to conspiring to commit bank fraud, tax fraud and evading his personal income taxes.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.