Busted double broker pleads guilty to stealing carrier's identity, fraud

Updated Oct 27, 2022

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022: 

Tijuana resident pleads guilty to charges related to double-broker scheme

Tijuana resident Alexis Castillo Padilla pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this month to criminal charges related to a double-brokering scheme targeting trucking companies and brokers, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

According to his plea agreement, as a part of the scheme, Padilla stole the identity of a Spring Valley, California-based interstate carrier and agreed to make deliveries using the company’s stolen identity. Then, rather than delivering the loads, Padilla posed as a shipper and re-brokered the same loads to other carriers who delivered the freight.

Padilla then allegedly collected the payments for the completed deliveries, but did not pay the carriers who actually delivered the loads and were unaware that Padilla was running a double-broker scheme. Padilla orchestrated most of the scheme from Tijuana, Mexico, DOJ said.

Padilla pleaded guilty to these charges following his extradition to the United States from Italy. Padilla was arrested in Italy and extradited to the United States on May 27, 2022. As a part of his plea agreement, Padilla has agreed to pay restitution to his victims, estimated to be at least $239,904.

“Padilla used deceit and deception to defraud freight brokers and interstate carriers trying to make an honest living moving goods throughout the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “He will now be held to account for his crimes even though they were committed from outside the United States.”

[Related: Growing broker/carrier identity theft schemes reaping millions]

The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General worked with DOJ on the case and noted that DOT is committed to cracking down on fraud.

“Today’s guilty plea demonstrates our commitment to detecting and pursuing those who engage in egregious acts of fraud that negatively affect both businesses and consumers,” said Andrea M. Kropf, Special Agent-In-Charge, Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Midwestern Region. “We are proud of our work with our prosecutorial partners in putting an end to this very complex ‘double-broker’ scheme.”

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The prosecution comes amid recent-years growing reports of carrier and broker business identity theft for the purpose of double-brokering and load payment theft, likewise organized schemes between multiple duly authorized carrier and broker entities double-brokering with the intent to pocket the difference between rates taken by the original carrier entity and then offered by a broker entity for less to an actual carrier via load board services.  

Padilla is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Houston on Dec. 7.

[Related: How do you know you're working with a double broker? It's increasingly hard to tell]

'Insuretech' trucking insurer launches mobile app for policyholders

The Cover Whale Insurance Solutions commercial trucking insurer announced the availability of two new technology platforms, one an interactive mobile app for its insured owner-operators and/or small fleet owners, the other an application programming interface (API) for insurance agents utilizing its principal tech platform.  

The API allows agents to seamlessly integrate their systems with Cover Whale's insurance platform, streamlining the policy quoting and binding process further for their independent owner-operator and small fleet clients.  

The new mobile app informs policyholders about their policies. With the app, everything an owner-op might need related to insurance coverage is at their fingertips -- certificates of insurance, claims filing, troubleshooting guides to dashboard cameras. 

"Our goal is to apply technology to offer truck drivers the best and most cost-effective insurance coverage. Our latest innovations really raise the bar in how we deliver for agents and policyholders," said Dan Abrahamsen, CEO of Cover Whale.

[Related: New trucking insurance models leverage technology to more closely tie pricing to performance]

Dobbs Peterbilt unveils updated Arkansas facility

Dobbs Peterbilt in Little Rock, Arkansas, unveiled its recently renovated dealership with a Customer Appreciation Open House on Thursday, October 20. The Open House featured live music, food and dessert, business card raffles, facility tours, a vendor showcase and more.

The location's complete renovation entailed a 5,000-square-foot addition to the parts warehouse; a complete remodel of the parts showroom, customer lounge, technician breakroom and truck sales offices; and a resurfaced driveway and customer parking area.

Said Dobbs Peterbilt South Executive Vice President Will Carlisle, “It is our commitment to provide the 'DobbsValue' experience to our customers. With this newly updated facility, we support the focus of our commitment to build relationships, provide the best value, and deliver superior service to our customers."

The Little Rock facility is one of 17 Peterbilt dealerships within the Dobbs Peterbilt portfolio. It's located at 1 Peterbilt Drive in North Little Rock. 

[Related: Trucking in a recession? View from the road with owner-ops, truck dealer perspective, more]