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Nov. 17, 2011

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Freight Broker Heads to Federal Prison For Fraud Scheme

McALLEN, Texas - Alejandro “Alex” Mascorro, 41, of McAllen, Texas, has been sentenced to federal prison for wire fraud and bankruptcy fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

At a hearing this morning, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced area freight broker Mascorro to 54 months in federal prison without parole and ordered him to pay $50,554.38 in restitution to his victim and former employer, Doria Enterprises Inc.

Mascorro pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of bankruptcy fraud on July 29, 2011, arising out of a scheme to defraud Doria Enterprises, his former employer. Doria, a freight brokerage business, provided money to its truck drivers through Comcheks - a money transfer system operated by Comdata Network Inc., in Brentwood, Tenn. Doria’s truck drivers could cash Comcheks at any truck stop provided they filled it out with a valid “express code.” Comdata assigned express codes to Doria in $1,000 increments which, in turn, would be given by Doria to its truck drivers when they needed cash for incidental expenses during trips.

According to the record of the case, from January 2008 through May 2009, Mascorro misappropriated Doria’s express codes without authorization to cash more than $60,000 worth of Comcheks. Mascorro concealed his fraudulent scheme from Doria in a variety of ways including altering and destroying transaction files and by recruiting other individuals to cash Comcheks for him in exchange for cash kickbacks. These other individuals would frequently use fictitious drivers license numbers and addresses when filling out the Comcheks to conceal their involvement in the scheme. 

At sentencing, the United States also presented evidence that, after leaving Doria, Mascorro worked for John Jerue Truck Brokers Inc. as a freight broker. While working for Jerue, Mascorro formed a shell company named Ardilla Enterprises Inc. (AEI), which purported to be an independent truck brokerage company. Mascorro began to persuade unsuspecting Jerue customers to disregard Jerue’s invoices for shipments completed by Jerue and, instead, to pay AEI for the shipments pursuant to an AEI invoice he created and provided to the customers. Mascorro received approximately $144,000 from Jerue’s customers by check or wire transfer, all of which was deposited into an AEI bank account controlled by Mascorro. Mascorro attempted to conceal his actions from Jerue by using new money he collected from a customer through AEI to make a payment to Jerue to satisfy another customer’s older balance thereby giving Jerue the impression that his accounts were operating without problems. The scheme eventually unraveled when Mascorro could no longer keep up with the “ponzi-like” payments.

Mascorro’s sentence was also based on a bankruptcy fraud conviction relating to his intentional omission of income on a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition he filed in U.S. District Court in McAllen in December 2009.

Mascorro, who has been in federal custody since his arrest on Jan. 26, 2011, will remain in custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility where he will serve out his sentence.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Greg Saikin prosecuted the case.