Trucking firm’s former CEO pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud

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The former head of an Iowa trucking company recently pleaded guilty to two of 12 counts of bankruptcy fraud. Roger Waldner, former chief executive officer and owner of Dubuque-based H&W Motor Express, faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. A sentencing hearing is not expected for several months.

Waldner was indicted last May for driving his 74-year-old company into bankruptcy, including lying to creditors and on his bankruptcy petition. He reached the plea deal May 21 just before trial was to begin in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. The fraud case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the U.S. Trustee’s Office.

Waldner acquired H&W in January 2001, and during the 11/2 years he operated the regional trucking company, more than $1.8 million was transferred to other companies either owned by or associated with Waldner and other H&W officers, according to court documents.

By 2002, H&W – which had offices in nine states – filed for bankruptcy protection, and scores of employees lost their jobs and their pensions. In his guilty plea, Waldner admitted that during a bankruptcy hearing in 2002, he lied about having no ownership or affiliation with companies that received funds from H&W.