Michigander Seth Murdock Imprisoned in Stolen Bus Caper
Burlington, VT – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Seth Murdock, 55, of Detroit, Michigan, was sentenced today in United States District Court in Burlington to 30 months of imprisonment following his guilty plea to a charge of interstate transportation of stolen vehicles. U.S. District Judge William K. Sessions III also ordered that Murdock serve a three-year term of supervised release following completion of his prison sentence and pay restitution in the amount of $30,694. Murdock has been in custody since his arrest by FBI agents in Michigan in September 2011.
On September 8, 2011, a federal grand jury in Burlington returned a two-count indictment against Murdock. According to the indictment, Murdock owned a bus company in Michigan named Murdock Tours and Travel. In June 2010, Murdock agreed to purchase two motor coaches for $300,000 each that were being sold by Lamoille Valley Transportation of Morrisville, Vermont. To finance the purchase, Murdock applied for a $1,050,000 loan from Strada Capital of California. The indictment charged that Murdock provided Strada with false and fraudulent financial information about his company, including bogus tax returns, altered bank statements and falsified financial statements. Murdock convinced the owner of Lamoille Valley Transportation to turn custody of the busses over to Murdock before the loan closed, assuring the owner the funds would become available in one or two days. When Strada learned the financial information pertaining to Murdock Tours and Travel was fraudulent, it rejected the loan application. In the meantime, Murdock drove the coaches from Vermont to Michigan and began using them in his business.
According to the indictment, Murdock then sought a $670,000 loan from a second lender in Florida. Murdock also submitted fraudulent financial information to that company and did not obtain a loan. Eventually, law enforcement authorities in Michigan seized the coaches and returned them to Lamoille Valley Transportation. They had been driven thousands of miles and suffered damage.
This case was investigated by the Burlington Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Murdock is represented by John Pacht. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.