Three charged in alleged fraud of Tracker Marine

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The owners of a trucking company in Lebanon, Mo., and one other person were indicted this week by a federal grand jury in connection with their alleged roles in a conspiracy to defraud Tracker Marine, a Springfield, Mo.-based manufacturer of boats and trailers, Beth Phillips, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced.

James Keith Ivey, 51, his wife, Melinda Kay Ivey, 42, and Paul Ray Hunting, 39, were charged in a 24-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield.

The indictment alleges that the three co-defendants devised a scheme to defraud Tracker Marine from January 2006 to April 2009 by inflating purchase orders and shipping invoices. During that time, the Iveys and Hunting allegedly caused more than 2,550 fraudulent invoices to be submitted to Tracker, creating a total loss of more than $850,000 to the boatbuilder.

The Iveys owned and operated J&M Trucking Inc. Tracker contracted with J&M to transport boats and trailers to Tracker’s dealers throughout North America. Hunting was promoted to transportation manager for Tracker in 2006.

Hunting allegedly 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. From 2006 to 2008, according to the indictment, James Ivey paid Hunting a total of $265,775, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

In addition to the fraud conspiracy, James and Melinda Ivey and Hunting are charged in a money laundering conspiracy related to the cash payments to Hunting, which involved the proceeds of the alleged mail and wire fraud conspiracy. According to the indictment, about every two weeks James Ivey, often accompanied by Melinda Ivey, met Hunting and paid Hunting his share of the proceeds generated from the fraudulent invoices, in cash. Hunting allegedly claimed some of those payments on his federal income tax return as income from a catering business, which was false.

Additionally, James and Melinda Ivey are charged together in nine counts of wire fraud, and they are each charged with one count of making false statements to federal agents. James Ivey is also charged with 10 additional counts of wire fraud. Hunting is also charged with one count of willful failure to make an income tax return for the calendar year 2007.