Operator Of Two South St. Paul Trucking Companies Sentenced For Defrauding Drivers Out Of Money
MINNEAPOLIS – Earlier today in federal court, the operator of two South St. Paul
trucking companies was sentenced for defrauding contracted truck drivers out of money. United
States District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz sentenced Marlon Louis Danner, age 67, of Inver
Grove Heights, to 15 months in prison on one count of wire fraud in connection to the crime. In
addition, Danner was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and $125,000 in restitution. Danner was
indicted on December 21, 2010, and pleaded guilty on July 29, 2011. Danner, the operator of
Danner, Inc., and Bull Dog Leasing, Inc., admitted misleading the truck drivers into returning
to him settlement funds they received pursuant to an agreement between him and the Minnesota
Department of Transportation (“MnDOT”).
Through his companies, Danner provided trucks and drivers for road construction
projects throughout Minnesota. In 2008 and 2009, he supplied drivers for the Minnesota
Highway 120-Century Avenue reconstruction project. That project was partially funded with
federal funds. As a result, Danner was required to pay a mandated wage rate to the drivers. The
allocation of those funds was overseen by MnDOT and the Federal Highway Administration.
Authorities investigated Danner’s compliance with the mandated wage rate and determined he had underpaid his drivers. In February of 2010, he reached a settlement with the MnDOT relating to that dispute. Under the terms of the settlement, he was to issue company checks totaling more than $185,000 to 27 drivers, each check representing wages underpaid to that particular driver. Danner provided the checks to MnDOT for distribution, and the checks were mailed to the drivers, by MnDOT, on March 2, 2010.
On February 27, 2010, however, Danner telephoned many of the drivers, instructing
them, either implicitly or explicitly, to return the settlement funds to him upon their receipt of
them. He informed the drivers that MnDOT had made a mistake in concluding they had been
underpaid. Thus, the funds they were about to receive were not theirs to keep.
In entering his earlier guilty plea, Danner admitted that those representations were false,
and that he knew them to be false when he made them. He also admitted he made the
representations with the intent to defraud the drivers out of the money they were about to
From March through May of 2010, many of the drivers contacted Danner’s office
manager for information on how to return the settlement funds. The office manager, acting on
Danner’s instructions, directed the drivers to make payment in the settlement amount to various
companies controlled by Danner. The drivers then were provided with false receipts for those
payments. The receipts indicated the money was for fuel, rent, or shop repairs, so as to conceal
that the settlement funds were being returned. By June 3, 2010, Danner had received more than
$120,000 of the approximately $185,000 in settlement funds he originally provided through
MnDOT. Danner failed to disclose the repayments to MnDOT.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the
MnDOT Labor Compliance Unit and the U.S. Department of Transportation-Office of
Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert M. Lewis and Laura