Daily dispatch, Feb. 5: Trucking company owners ordered to forfeit nearly $1.5M; HHG mover pleads guilty to racketeering scheme

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Updated Feb 6, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020:

Utah trucking company owners ordered to forfeit nearly $1.5 million
Jay and Garrett Barber, the former owners of Reliable Transportation Services, were ordered by a U.S. District Court in Utah to forfeit nearly $1.5 million for their roles in a wire fraud scheme. Jay Barber was ordered to forfeit $403,941.70, and Garrett Barber was ordered to forfeit $920,457.30.

The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General says the forfeiture amounts were determined to be the profits of a wire fraud scheme organized by the brothers. Both had previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced to conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit wire fraud.

A prior indictment alleged that the Barbers evaded enforcement of motor carrier safety regulations.

Meritor will supply the electric powertrains for Peterbilt’s heavy-duty electric trucks, including the 579EV, pictured here.Meritor will supply the electric powertrains for Peterbilt’s heavy-duty electric trucks, including the 579EV, pictured here.

Meritor to supply powertrains for heavy-duty Peterbilt electric trucks 
Peterbilt announced this week it has reached an agreement to make Meritor the non-exclusive supplier of electric powertrains for the company’s heavy-duty models 579EV and 520EV battery-powered electric trucks.

“With this announcement, we have locked in suppliers for all of our battery-electric model configurations,” said Jason Skoog, Paccar vice president and Peterbilt general manager.

Peterbilt says low volume production for the Model 579EV will begin in late 2020, followed by the Model 520EV in 2021.

Florida-based HHG mover pleads guilty to racketeering
Vladimir Pestereanu, a foreman for a moving company enterprise based in Florida, pleaded guilty Jan. 24 to one count of participating in a racketeering conspiracy related to a moving company enterprise. The enterprise allegedly controlled several moving companies and defrauded, extorted and stole from customers seeking to move household goods, according to DOT OIG.

OIG says the companies would offer low estimates and promised to beat competitors’ prices. Then after loading goods onto a truck, employees would increase the price of the move, holding the goods hostage until the customer paid the inflated prices. They also allegedly charged customers for moving more cubic feet of goods than they actually loaded, and did not deliver some goods at all.

OIG adds that when customers would complain, the enterprise would shut down the latest iteration of the company and open a new one, falsifying information about owners’ identities to receive operating licenses from FMCSA.