A former business woman has pled guilty to charges relating to a 10 year multi-million dollar trucking Ponzi scheme that allowed her to buy several homes, a yacht, and a Maserati — at the expense of numerous motor carriers.
Woman Dupes Truckers With Ponzi Scheme
Shirley Sooy, 65, ran a logistics and freight payment company called TransVantage Solutions, Inc. which operated by auditing freight invoices to ensure their accuracy and then instructing clients to pay the approved invoices. Clients would send the payments to TransVantage Solutions, where they were supposed to be forwarded to the approved motor carriers.
But that’s not what happened.
Sooy admitted in court that she purposefully diverted millions of dollars away from the motor carriers to use for her own purposes. She also admitted to creating false invoices to deceive clients into believing that their bills had been paid.
Embezzled Money Funded Lavish Lifestyle
Sooy used the money to pay the mortgage on three properties in New Jersey and one in Florida, along with a 48 foot yacht and a $135,000 Maserati. She also used the money to pay off credit card debt for herself and her family members. She even used the embezzled funds to pay her own payroll.
Authorities estimate that the total amount Sooy embezzled is around $42 million.
TransVantage Bankruptcy Trustee Sues Trucking Companies That Did Receive Payment
As if this weren’t bad enough, when allegations of embezzlement started to catch up to Sooy, TransVantage Solutions filed for bankruptcy protection. The company’s Bankruptcy Trustee then filed lawsuits against around 500 trucking companies that were actually paid by TransVantage Solutions because they claim that the payments were “fraudulent conveyances” because TransVantage was a Ponzi scheme — meaning that the trucking companies were paid with money considered to be fraudulent. Many of these carriers were small “mom and pop” trucking operations. In all, the multiple lawsuits sought about $500 million from these carriers.
Fortunately because of the nature of the case, many of the lawsuits fell apart.
Sooy pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges. She could face 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charge and 10 years in prison for the money laundering charge.