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Former Trucking CEO Pleads Guilty in Fraud Scheme

January 21, 2015

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The former CEO of the trucking company USA Dry Van Logistics has pleaded guilty in federal court in Texas to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six counts of wire fraud.

Sergio Lagos headed up the cross-border trucking company that services the Mexico manufacturing and export zone to the U.S., known commonly as the maquiladora industry.

Co-conspirators Aurelio “Jim” Aleman and Oscar Barbosa, former chief operations officer and former controller for the company, respectively, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in 2013.

According to court records, Aleman and Lagos entered into a financing agreement with GE Capital Corp. for a revolving line of credit, which was secured by trucking company’s accounts receivables. By January 2010, the maximum borrowing limit under the agreement was increased to $38 million with USADV justifying advances on the line of credit by submitting false information.

Lagos admitted that from March 2008 through the end of January 2010, he participated in a scheme to defraud GE Capital, including concealing from the creditor the truth about USADV’s declining operating performance and financial results, making it appear to be operating more profitably that it actually was.

According to the FBI, Lagos signed, prepared or directed others to prepare certificates that falsely inflated the amount of the company’s accounts receivables and had them submitted to GE Capital to enable USADV to obtain more funds than would otherwise have been permitted. This included directing other employees to manually invoice millions of dollars of fraudulent receivables to inflate the borrowing base and to create false and forged invoices and support documentation for accounts receivables that did not exist. Lagos also admitted to submitting false financial statements to auditors and GE Capital.

When the truth about USADV’s operations and finances were revealed, USADV went into bankruptcy, successfully re-organized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and is currently operating with new owners, according to the FBI. Lagos, Aleman and Barbosa are no longer affiliated with or employed by the company.

The government alleges the estimated loss to GE Capital is more than $26 million. The U.S. district judge who accepted the guilty plea, will make a final determination of that loss at the time Lagos is sentenced. At that time, he also faces up 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine. The hearing has been scheduled for April 13.

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