Arkansas freight broker sentenced for defrauding carriers

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An Arkansas freight broker recently was sentenced to 51 months in prison in connection with a scheme to defraud interstate carriers entitled to freight fees, according to the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s Office.

John D. Russell, a commercial freight broker and forwarder, was sentenced Oct. 20 in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, Ark., DOT-OIG said. In addition to receiving prison time, Russell also was sentenced to three years supervised release and ordered to pay $165,712 to about 15 victims.

According to DOT-OIG, Russell operated transportation brokering companies that collected freight fees from shippers; he would broker the loads for transportation to other carriers, collect the freight fees and, in many instances, failed to pay the companies that transported the freight.

Russell pled guilty to the wire fraud charge in February, said DOT-OIG, which conducted the joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.