Fleet owner pleads guilty to reincarnating carriers, loan fraud

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, April 25, 2024:

Georgia man pleads guilty to CARES Act fraud, falsifying FMCSA records

Roderick Billingslea, a Georgia-based former fleet owner, pleaded guilty on April 11 to one count of wire fraud and one count of falsification of records in a federal investigation.

A Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Small Business Administration OIG investigation revealed that Billingslea devised a scheme to defraud SBA by using false statements and fraudulent pretenses related to a loan/grant request for CARES Act funds. As a result, Billingslea wrongfully received $564,363.

Additionally, Billingslea knowingly made false statements to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Form MCSA-1, which is required to operate as a motor carrier.

After FMCSA ordered Billingslea to cease operation for willful violations, he reincarnated numerous motor carriers, including E-Cargo, Hidden Valley Transportation, US Transport, Midwest Express, and Dispatch USA, to bypass federal regulations and laws.

Broker trade association updates framework for combating fraud

The Transportation Intermediaries Association, which represents brokers and third-party logistics providers, has released an updated version of its Framework to Combat Fraud: Preventing & Responding to Fraud and Theft. 

The 40-page document examines the latest trends in fraud in the supply chain and assists TIA members in developing and implementing their own policies and procedures to reduce potential fraud and theft of cargo. 

“Every day we expose ourselves to many risks in our businesses,” said Chairman of the TIA Fraud Taskforce Dan O’Sullivan. “We are trusting people that, in most cases, we have never met to move products around the country that are worth exponentially more than the rates earned for moving those products. How we manage those risks improves our bottom lines and protects our customers.” 

The five types of fraud that are covered in the framework with detailed case studies include: cargo theft, financial theft, identity theft, internal theft, and data/information theft. 

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“Every day, the criminals that plague our industry with fraudulent activities are constantly adapting their strategies and looking for new segments of the supply chain to take advantage,” said Anne Reinke, president & CEO of TIA. “For industry stakeholders to stay one step ahead, we all need to collaborate and information share ideas and approaches to combat this rampant issue.”

[Related: Broker group establishes fraud task force]

Forge Truck Centers expands into Texas

Forge Truck Centers, a dealership that sells used specialty commercial trucks nationwide, has opened a South-Central Regional Sales and Service Center in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex.

Located in a newly-built 20,000 square foot building at 1301 Wintergreen Road in Hutchins, Texas, the regional center features 22 repair bays with top-of-the-line equipment and technology, as well as a comprehensive inventory of parts and components.

Forge Truck Centers also provide extensive upfitting services to customize a truck for each customer’s requirements.

“Dallas was selected as our first expansion market because the South-Central U.S. region includes a high concentration of companies that require heavy-duty vocational trucks in sectors such as construction, oil and gas, and agriculture,” said Joe Joyaux, vice president, sales, Forge Truck Centers South-Central Region. “We look forward to providing regional customers with even higher levels of service and support, such as vehicle customization, maintenance, and repairs.”

The Dallas location of Forge Truck Centers will primarily serve customers in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and parts of Georgia.

Forge Truck Centers, formerly IL Truck Group, plans to open several new regional centers annually throughout the U.S. over the next several years, beginning with the Dallas location. The new centers will make it convenient for regional customers to see a truck in-person before buying, take delivery of a vehicle more quickly, and get parts and service.