Nearly a year ago, two Missouri trucking company owners and an accomplice were convicted of defrauding Tracker Marine of nearly $1 million. Last week, they were sentenced to federal prison by a U.S. District Court Judge.
The owners of a Lebanon, Missouri trucking company and an accomplice have been convicted of adding 158 miles to each trip on their invoices to Tracker Marine Inc., of Springfield, Missouri, from 2006 until 2009, stealing $924,101 from Tracker.
James Keith Ivey, 52, and his wife, Melinda Kay Ivey, 43 own J&M Trucking, Inc. J&M had a contract with Tracker Marine to haul their boats and trailers throughout North America.
The Iveys and co-conspirator, Paul Ray Hunting, 39, of Paso Robles, California, developed a scheme to squeeze more money out of Tracker Marine.
“At the beginning of the scheme there was no set amount for Hunting’s increases to the billable miles on purchase orders. However, in April 2006, James Ivey and Hunting agreed on a set amount of 158 miles as being the amount Hunting would add to each purchase order, because when multiplied by the then-applicable reimbursement rate of $1.90 per mile, the result was an additional $300 per trip. This amount allowed for an even three-way split between Hunting, James Ivey and Melinda Ivey. The defendants continued the practice of inflating billable miles by 158 miles per trip, even after the reimbursement rate was increased to $2.10 per mile in January 2007,” KY3 News reported.
Although the Ivey’s billed Tracker for an extra 158 miles, they only paid their drivers for actual miles.
The Iveys and Hunting submitted approximately 2,550 fraudulent invoices.
On March 7, 2012, Hunting pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and failure to file a tax return. Hunting told authorities he received a total of $265,775 from the scheme.
According to KY3, “In addition to the fraud conspiracy, James and Melinda Ivey were found guilty of a money-laundering conspiracy related to the cash payments to Hunting, which involved the proceeds of the mail and wire fraud conspiracy. Approximately every two weeks James Ivey, often accompanied by Melinda Ivey, met Hunting (usually in a parking lot in Lebanon) and paid Hunting his share of the proceeds generated from the fraudulent invoices, in cash. Hunting claimed some of those payments on his federal income tax return as income from a catering business, which was false. The Iveys claimed the payments represented a percentage of revenue generated by two trucks they claimed Hunting owned and was leasing to J&M, which was also false.”
James and Melina Ivey were convicted of 9 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federal authorities. James Ivey was convicted of an additional 10 counts of wire fraud.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Missouri, on Friday, the Ivey’s were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner. James Ivey was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in federal prison without the possibility of parole and Melinda Ivey was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in federal prison without parole.
In addition, the Ivey’s have been ordered to pay $797,325 in restitution.
The Ivey’s accomplice, Paul Hunting was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison and was ordered to pay $294,496 in restitution.