Court upholds fraud sentence

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Updated Jan 6, 2010

A federal appeals court upheld a 10-year sentence and $1.7 million restitution order for Roger Waldner, a Dubuque, Iowa, businessman who had pled guilty to two counts of bankruptcy fraud in connection with the bankruptcy of H&W Express. Waldner took control of the trucking company in January 2001, and within a few months, Waldner and his associates began transferring about $1.8 million in assets from H&W to four other corporations with which he had a close relationship. After H&W filed for bankruptcy in June 2002, Waldner denied in a meeting with creditors that there was any relationship between those corporations and H&W.

Waldner had appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, arguing that the district court committed significant procedural error by basing sentence on unsupported factual findings. Among other things, the court said it presumes that a sentence within the properly calculated guidelines range is reasonable. As for restitution, the court said that while the acts of bankruptcy fraud were not the sole causes of creditors’ losses since Waldner and his associates took other acts to shield H&W’s assets, “they were undertaken with the intention of, and did in fact contribute to, the furtherance of the scheme.”