Two charged for embezzling money from fleet

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, June 5, 2023:

Trucking company employees charged in scheme to embezzle from fleet

Two women were arrested Friday, May 26, on a four-count indictment related to their alleged scheme to defraud and embezzle money from their employer, a Texas-based trucking company headquartered in Eagle Pass.

According to court documents, Dina Maldonado Morales, 42, and Laura Ballesteros Haby, 52, allegedly used their positions with MH Group to divert the company’s customer account receivable payments to their own bank accounts. The total amount of the embezzled, diverted and stolen funds between July 2017 and April 2019 is alleged to have been approximately $1.4 million.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER database, MH Group is a small fleet with 20 trucks and 15 drivers.

Both Morales and Haby were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud and aiding and abetting wire fraud. If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the conspiracy count and 20 years in prison on the three wire fraud and aiding and abetting counts.

Penske expanding brokerage capabilities

Penske Logistics (CCJ Top 250, No. 12) is ramping up its freight brokerage capabilities this year with the opening of new offices in Chicago and Edison, New Jersey.

The Chicago location, on 500 W. Madison St., is 9,000-square-feet in size. There are expected to be 80 associates housed there in the location’s first year. These associates will have sales, account management, operations and customer success responsibilities.

In Edison, New Jersey, at 110 Fieldcrest Ave., the offices are comprised of 5,000-square-feet. There will be associates working in operations, customer success and logistics coordination. There are expected to be 25-30 associates working from this location in the next year.

“We are opening these new offices to support our freight brokerage expansion goals and to be closer to population centers that feature a wealth of supply chain talent,” said Jeff Bullard, senior vice president of operations – freight management, Penske Logistics. “While many of our new hires will be based in Chicago, we will also add new associates to existing locations in Beachwood, Ohio; Reading, Pennsylvania; and Corona, California.”

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C.H. Robinson names Carriers of the Year winners

C.H. Robinson this week announced the winners of its annual Carrier of the Year Awards, which were selected from the company’s network of 96,000 contract carriers.

The program recognizes 23 carriers that stood out for exceptional quality and reliability of service, operational excellence, and adoption of technology to enhance overall efficiencies and performance.

This is the first year C.H Robinson introduced new cross-border categories, including high-performing winners from Canada and Mexico.  

The sixth annual celebration rewarded winners with a three-day event at its Eden Prairie, Minnesota, headquarters, from May 31 through June 2. Honorees, which include both truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers, were awarded prizes and further celebrated through C.H. Robinson’s carrier appreciation initiatives.  

The 2023 Carrier of the Year Winners, include: 

  • Gabriela Transportation -- Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
  • Mario Soriano -- Santa Ana, California
  • Zerimar Transport Inc. -- Lemoore, California
  • Boss Strategy -- Las Vegas
  • ADR Transport -- Chula Vista, California
  • J Wolf Services Inc. -- St. Charles, Illinois
  • BR Transport -- Eagle Pass, Texas
  • Saddle Up Express Inc. -- El Paso, Texas
  • McGuire Transportation Inc. -- Temple, Texas
  • JIT-EX -- Memphis, Tennessee
  • Timmons Transit Inc. -- Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Bett-A-Way Beverage Distributors Inc. -- South Plainfield, New Jersey
  • RBX, Inc -- Springfield, Missouri
  • Erives Enterprises Inc -- El Paso, Texas
  • Western Flyer Xpress -- Oklahoma City
  • Transportes Moga -- Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
  • CH Logistics Corp. -- Brampton, Ontario, Canada
  • Wanship Enterprises LLC -- Salt Lake City
  • GFB Trucking Inc. -- St. Charles, Illinois
  • Berard Transportation Inc. -- New Iberia, Louisiana
  • Old Dominion Freight Line -- Thomasville, North Carolina
  • Estes Express Lines -- Richmond, Virginia
  • Southeastern Freight Lines Inc. -- Columbia, South Carolina

J.J. Keller accepting Safety Professional of the Year nominations

J. J. Keller & Associates is now accepting applications for the 2023 J. J. Keller Safety Professional of the Year (SPOTY) Awards, which recognize environmental health and safety professionals who go above and beyond their daily duties to build a culture and vision for safety and achieve excellence in safety for their companies.

Applications are open through 5 p.m. Monday, July 31.

Safety professionals may apply for the SPOTY Awards directly, or can be nominated by someone else.

The winning safety professionals will be chosen by a panel from J. J. Keller’s staff of 75-plus safety consultants and experts. The winners will be announced in September.

The first-place J. J. Keller SPOTY Award winner will receive a range of items totaling more than $20,000 in value:

  • $2,500 to be donated by J. J. Keller to the winner’s nonprofit 501(c)3 organization of choice
  • a free one-year subscription to the J. J. Keller Safety Management Suite for the winner and their staff (up to 10 users)
  • $1,200 in free online training from J. J. Keller
  • $200 toward J. J. Keller SafeGear PPE
  • A commemorative plaque

In addition, the winner and their company will be featured in a webcast by J. J. Keller in October.

Awards are presented for the J. J. Keller Safety Professional of the Year as well as second and third places.

Second place will receive a $500 donation to the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization of their choice, a free one-year subscription to the J. J. Keller Safety Management Suite, $250 toward J. J. Keller SafeGear PPE, and a commemorative plaque. Third place will receive a $100 donation to the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization of their choice, a free one-year subscription to the J. J. Keller Safety Management Suite, $200 toward J. J. Keller SafeGear PPE, and a commemorative plaque.

RK Logistics expands into Phoenix area

Third-party logistics provider RK Logistics announced last week it has expanded into Arizona with the opening of a new office in Scottsdale supporting customers throughout the greater Phoenix area and southern Arizona.

The new office, which initially will house RK’s local sales, business development and administrative staff, will focus on delivering logistics solutions for current and emerging industrial and manufacturing businesses and their suppliers in Arizona’s Silicon Desert.

“With more than 35 years as a trusted logistics partner working with semi-conductor and high technology companies in California’s Silicon Valley, including 10 years of direct experience in EV battery logistics, this expansion brings proven, industry specific capabilities to the Silicon Desert in support of this region’s growing innovation industries,” said Rock Magnan, RK Logistics president.

It’s RK’s third geographic expansion this year, complementing new facilities previously opened in Michigan and Texas, and marks a significant milestone as the company continues to grow its national footprint and provide customers with best-in-class logistics solutions, Magnan noted.

In addition to the regional sales headquarters, RK is planning a new 190,000 square-foot warehouse in the Phoenix market, which it expects to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

The facility will include advanced security measures, state-of-the-art material handling and warehouse management systems, and a team of experienced professionals to ensure the highest level of customer service.  With its proximity to major highways and transportation hubs, the facility will provide optimal access to markets throughout the Southwest region.