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Couple convicted in Tracker Marine fraud

A judge convicted the owners of a Lebanon, Mo., trucking company for their roles in a scheme to defraud Tracker Marine of more than $900,000.

James Keith Ivey, 52, and his wife, Melinda Kay Ivey, 43, were found guilty of all counts in a Feb. 28 federal indictment after a two-day bench trial before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr last week.

The Iveys and co-defendant Paul Ray Hunting, 39, of Paso Robles, Calif., devised a scheme to defraud Springfield, Mo.-based Tracker from January 2006 to April 2009 by inflating purchase orders and shipping invoices. During that time, the Iveys and Hunting caused more than 2,550 fraudulent invoices to be submitted to Tracker, creating a total loss of at least $924,101 for Tracker.

Tracker contracted with the Iveys’ business, J&M Trucking Inc., to transport boats and trailers to dealers throughout North America. Hunting was promoted to transportation manager at Tracker in 2006.

Hunting pleaded guilty to his role in a wire fraud conspiracy, a money laundering conspiracy and for failing to file a tax return in March, admitting that he received about $265,775 from the scheme between 2006 and 2008.

Hunting caused Tracker to make payments to J&M in excess of the contract amount by listing an inflated and false number of billable miles on purchase orders. In exchange, James Ivey paid Hunting a portion of the revenue generated by the fraudulently increased billable miles in cash.

In addition to the fraud conspiracy, James and Melinda Ivey were found guilty of a money-laundering conspiracy related to the cash payments to Hunting that involved the proceeds of the mail and wire fraud conspiracy.

They were convicted together in nine counts of wire fraud and James Ivey was convicted of 10 additional counts of wire fraud. Both were convicted of making false statements to federal agents.

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