A Maryland man has pled guilty to fraud charges after he allegedly rerouted and stole more than 1000 payment checks from trucking companies as part of a “double brokering” scheme.
On September 26, 43 year old William Francis Hickey III pled guilty to two federal wire fraud charges relating to a scheme that took place between May 2016 and January 31, 2019.
According to court documents, Hickey acted as manager for two companies — Hickey Consulting LLC and Latino Consulting LLC. — while he participated in a “double brokering” scheme that defrauded truckers and brokers out of more than a million dollars.
From a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Maryland:
Specifically, from May 2016 through January 31, 2019, Hickey conspired with others, including a co-conspirator in Pakistan, to devise and execute a scheme to defraud trucking companies and logistical brokers hired by shippers to arrange for trucking companies to transport their loads. As detailed in the plea agreement, logistical brokers are hired by shippers of goods to arrange for transportation of the goods by trucking companies. Brokers pay trucking companies for transporting loads through “truck industry checks,” by providing a numerical code, referred to in the trucking industry as an “express code,” which the trucking company uses to populate a blank check from its book of truck industry checks. The broker typically makes two payments to the trucking company—a fuel advance, which is made after the company has picked up its load, and the final payment after the load has been delivered. Truck industry checks can be deposited into a bank account or cashed at a truck stop or check-cashing establishment.
Hickey admitted that he and his co-conspirators obtained truck industry checks from brokers by posing as legitimate trucking companies; entering into agreements with brokers to transport loads; re-brokering, or “double brokering,” the same load to an actual trucking company; and then seeking payment from the brokers for transportation services that the members of the conspiracy did not provide. After the legitimate trucking company picked up the load, the conspirators requested an express code from the broker for the fuel advance payment, then used the express code to populate and subsequently cash or deposit a truck industry check. In some cases, the conspirators also requested a second express code from the original broker after the load was delivered, to deposit a second truck industry check. The conspirators did not pay the trucking company that actually transported the goods.
Hickey is accused of providing brokers with fraudulent insurance documents, DOT licensing forms, and W-9 forms, all while using fake email addresses and phone numbers to pull off the scheme.
Authorities say that Hickey deposited more than 1000 checks totaling $1,171,314.11 into his business accounts and failed to pay the trucking companies for the services that they provided.
Hickey is scheduled to be sentenced on December 20, 2019. He faces up to 20 years in prison.