Two charged in freight fraud scheme

Ccj Logo White Headshot

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023:

Kentucky duo face prison in freight fraud indictments

In Louisville, Kentucky, last month, a federal grand jury indicted Yeniseis and Alien Saavedra for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and disaster fraud, prosecutors said. Yeniseis was also charged with filing a false statement and aggravated identity theft.

Both Saavedras made initial court appearances this week before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. If convicted, Yeniseis faces a mandatory minimum of 2 years and up to 87 in prison, while Alien could be sentenced up to 50 years, for an alleged conspiracy to defraud factoring companies by submitting false bills of lading, among other charges.

The indictment also charges both Saavedras with crimes related to their filing for lost-wage assistance payments, authorized by a Presidential Memorandum resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Kentucky Office of Unemployment.

Prosecutors allege the filing for assistance payments on behalf of Alien Saavedra failed to report that Saavedra was receiving wages from the motor carrier industry at the time. Yeniseis' identity-theft charge then stems from application to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for operating authority for one "C.S.," according to the DOJ's release. "C.S. was not aware of the application filing," however, and Yeniseis Saavedra, the government said, was in fact operating the trucking company. 

Saavedra went on to fraudulently claim lost wage assistance payments in C.S.'s name as well, prosecutors allege, with the Kentucky Office of Unemployment. C.S. had no knowledge of the application, and those payments were ultimately sent to a bank account controlled by Saavedra

The case stems from an investigation conducted by the DOT's OIG and the Postal Inspection Service, with the assistance of the Department of Labor OIG. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Ansari is prosecuting this case. 

Saia opens second Kansas City-area terminal

Saia LTL Freight has opened a new terminal in the city of Edwardsville, Kansas. With nearly 140 doors, this will be the second facility for the carrier in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in the Kansas City area so this new terminal, which we’re calling ‘KCW’ or ‘Kansas City West,’ will allow us to offer enhanced service to customers by positioning drivers and equipment so we can provide additional capacity and flexibility,” said Saia (CCJ Top 250, No. 21) Vice President of Operations, West Kevin Szydel.

Kansas City is one of the largest freight hubs in the Midwest and is an important gateway for freight moving through the Saia network. 

“While we’ve opened a number of facilities in new markets over the last few years, we continue to invest in locations like Kansas City where Saia is a leading brand,” stated Szydel.

Colorado Mack dealer achieves Certified EV Dealer status

Mack Trucks dealer Bruckner Truck Sales, based outside of Denver in Commerce City, Colorado, recently achieved Certified Electric Vehicle (EV) Dealer status. Bruckner’s will now be able to service and support the Mack LR Electric refuse truck and is the first Mack dealer in Colorado to achieve EV certification status.

“Congratulations to Bruckner’s for meeting the requirements for EV certification,” said Jonathan Randall, president of Mack Trucks North America. “By becoming EV-certified, Bruckner’s has shown its commitment to the evolving needs of Mack customers and the industry. We look forward to working with them as we continue to help customers meet their sustainability goals.”

Bruckner’s, a Mack Certified Uptime Dealer, offers 36 service bays, one of which is dedicated to electric vehicles. The location has 26 technicians, 12 master techs and two EV-certified techs. One technician is currently in the process of certification. This is the second Bruckner’s location to be EV-certified. Bruckner’s in Fort Worth, Texas, became the first EV-certified Mack dealer in Texas in 2022. Bruckner’s is working to achieve EV-certification status at four other locations.