Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Charges in Connection With a Scheme to Defraud Trucking Companies and Brokers of More Than $1 Million
Baltimore, Maryland – William Francis Hickey III, age 43, of Elkton, Maryland, pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud trucking companies and logistical brokers of more than $1 million. The guilty plea was entered on September 26, 2019.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Postal Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; and Special Agent in Charge Jamie Mazzone of the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.
According to his plea agreement, Hickey was the managing member of Hickey Consulting LLC and president of Latino Consulting LLC, both headquartered in Baltimore. Hickey maintained bank accounts in the names of both companies, which he used to deposit checks fraudulently obtained by his co-conspirators.
Specifically, from May 2016 through January 31, 2019, Hickey conspired with others, including a co-conspirator in Pakistan, to devise and execute a scheme to defraud trucking companies and logistical brokers hired by shippers to arrange for trucking companies to transport their loads. As detailed in the plea agreement, logistical brokers are hired by shippers of goods to arrange for transportation of the goods by trucking companies. Brokers pay trucking companies for transporting loads through “truck industry checks,” by providing a numerical code, referred to in the trucking industry as an “express code,” which the trucking company uses to populate a blank check from its book of truck industry checks. The broker typically makes two payments to the trucking company—a fuel advance, which is made after the company has picked up its load, and the final payment after the load has been delivered. Truck industry checks can be deposited into a bank account or cashed at a truck stop or check-cashing establishment.
Hickey admitted that he and his co-conspirators obtained truck industry checks from brokers by posing as legitimate trucking companies; entering into agreements with brokers to transport loads; re-brokering, or “double brokering,” the same load to an actual trucking company; and then seeking payment from the brokers for transportation services that the members of the conspiracy did not provide. After the legitimate trucking company picked up the load, the conspirators requested an express code from the broker for the fuel advance payment, then used the express code to populate and subsequently cash or deposit a truck industry check. In some cases, the conspirators also requested a second express code from the original broker after the load was delivered, to deposit a second truck industry check. The conspirators did not pay the trucking company that actually transported the goods.
Hickey deposited over 1,000 truck industry checks worth $1,171,314.11 into his business bank accounts, knowing that they were obtained as part of the fraud scheme.
Hickey faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the conspiracy and for the wire fraud. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III has scheduled sentencing for December 20, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Kathleen O. Gavin, who are prosecuting the case.
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