A West Virginia man was sentenced to federal prison for a five year long diesel engine repair scheme that duped at least 81 truckers and forced some small time operators out of business.
Forty-seven year old Carl Steven Spencer Jr (a.k.a. Steve Spencer) was sentenced to nine months in federal prison and two years federal probation after entering a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud as part of a plea deal. The judge also ordered Spencer to pay $189,000 in restitution.
Man Dupes Small Time Truckers Across U.S. And Canada For 5 Years
According to Fenton Police Chief Rick Aro, Spencer had been operating his engine repair scam out of Fenton since 2011. Reports say that truckers from the U.S. and Canada unknowingly sent Spencer their engines for remanufacture along with either two-thirds or full payment. Many truckers never saw their engines or their money ever again.
Some of those that did get their engines back said that Spencer had simply given it a fresh paint job and then sent it back.
Here’s what one trucker wrote about his experiences with Spencer on the website “Rip Off Report” in 2014:
This company is running a Bait and Switch scheme.
The owner has no shortage of people accusing him of ripping them off. He ripped me off good
Here is what he does.
1. Lets say you want him to build you a C-12 Engine.
2. The owner says he can get in done in ten days ( NOT !!!
3. He takes your money . Goes out and buys an old C-10 Engine Block, Power washes it. Paints it. Puts used parts in it. Gives it to you and it doesn’t even work.
4. The he ducks your phone calls and denies everything.
5. He screwed my company good this way.
6. Cost my company 100 k in expenses for his little scam.
7. RUN FROM HIM.
Spencer’s scheme operated under various company names, including National Diesel Engine, Midwest Engine and Superior Diesel Reman.
Bait And Switch Scheme Forces Some Truckers Out Of Business
Most of Spencer’s known 81 victims were small, family owned trucking companies, some of which went out of business as a result of the scheme.
Spencer blamed a slow economy for forcing him to scheme truckers to make a living, but when the FBI executed a search warrant at his home, they found evidence that the money swindled from truckers had gone to support a lavish lifestyle. Notably, the FBI found 38 designer watches in Spencer’s possession.
Spencer will serve his sentence at Morgantown Federal Penitentiary in West Virginia