Corey Louis Hendrickson, a former dispatcher for Prime Inc. and the former mayor of Willard, Missouri, pled guilty last month to embezzling almost $300,000 from truck driver fuel cards, abusing his access to their social security numbers and other information, according to court documents.
Hendrickson did this for five years until Prime found out about the scheme and reported it to authorities.
Hendrickson worked at Prime's Springfield, Missouri, office as a dispatcher, where he would search Prime's system "and look for former drivers with a positive balance," according to the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri Southern Division. "He would then use former drivers' social security numbers and log into their ComData accounts" to transfer money into his personal accounts, which he then used to write checks to himself, or sometimes to a local TA truck stop.
Hendrickson was limited to cashing checks to the amount of $300, and Prime said he ran this scheme 1,078 times. Victims "incurred losses that ranged between less than $100 all the way to $6,495, with the average loss of a few hundred dollars each," the court wrote.
Between September 9, 2016, through August,17 2021, Hendrickson, "without the knowledge or authority of Prime Incorporated, ComData, or any of the individual drivers who held accounts with ComData to pay for fuel costs," gained access to the accounts of "at least 500 individuals and conducted over 1,000 fraudulent transactions that resulted in at least $298,737.99 in monies being stolen from the various fuel expense accounts that were in the name and social security number" of individuals.
Hendrickson, as part of the plea, agreed to forfeit the property stolen, and admitted he knowingly committed these offenses and is in fact guilty. The court now must order restitution to the victims, and Hendrickson has agreed that the $298,737.99 and any other fines are "due and payable immediately after the judgment is entered and subject to immediate enforcement, in full." The court may use the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act and "any other remedies" to enforce restitution, and the U.S. Attorney's office will obtain a credit report on Hendrickson to determine his ability to pay.
For the two counts, Hendrickson faces not more than 20 years of imprisonment, two $250,000 fines, and up to four years of supervised release, plus two $100 mandatory special assessment and an order of restitution.
Prime's legal counsel caught wind of Hendrickson's scheme, interviewing him about it on his way out of the company and informing authorities of the stolen money. Beyond what was in the court proceedings, Prime declined to comment further on the case.
The offense is a Class C felony, the third-to-highest class ranking.
Local news outlet the Springfield Daily Citizen noted that Hendrickson served as the former mayor of Willard, Missouri, a small town of about 7,000 people, and that he was heavily engaged in trying to impeach the current mayor over a staffing issue.