Two USA Dry Van Trucking Company Ex-Executives Convicted In $26 Million Fraud Scheme
HOUSTON – Aurelio “Jim” Aleman, 59, and Oscar Barbosa, 50, have been convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Aleman was the former chief operations officer of USA Dry Van Logistics (USADV), a cross-border trucking company that services the maquiladora industry. Barbosa was the former controller of the company.
According to records, Aleman and Sergio Lagos - the former chief executive officer of USADV - entered into a financing agreement with GE Capital Corporation (GECC) under which GECC would issue a revolving line of credit which was secured by USADV’s accounts receivables. By January 2010, the maximum borrowing limit under the agreement was increased to $38 million. Pursuant to the agreement, USADV allegedly justified advances on the line of credit by submitting “borrowing base certificates” to GECC.
Aleman and Barbosa admitted that from March 2008 through the end of January 2010, they joined in a scheme to defraud and swindle GECC, a lending company that provided capital to USADV, fraudulently obtaining funds through a revolving line of credit. At the plea hearing, Aleman and Barbosa admitted they schemed to conceal from GECC the truth about USADV’s declining operating performance and financial results. Rather than reveal USADV’s true condition, Aleman and Barbosa misrepresented USADV’s true operating performance and financial results to include the nature of the USADV’s accounts receivable, against which GECC was permitting USADV to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars on a weekly basis. This caused USADV to appear to be operating more profitably that it actually was. Aleman and Barbosa signed, prepared and/or directed others to prepare certificates that falsely inflated the amount of the company’s accounts receivables and caused them to be submitted to GECC to enable USADV to obtain more funds than would otherwise have been permitted. Aleman and Barbosa perpetuated and concealed the scheme to defraud GECC by 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. Aleman and Barbosa also admitted to submitting false financial statements to auditors and GECC.
When the truth about USADV’s operations and finances were revealed, USADV went into bankruptcy. USADV successfully re-organized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and is currently operating with new owners. Lagos, Aleman and Barbosa are no longer affiliated with or employed by the company. The amount of actual loss to GECC was more than $26 million.
As a condition of the their plea agreements, both Aleman and Barbosa agreed to make monthly payments towards restitution to GECC prior to sentencing. In Aleman’s plea agreement, he further agreed to the imposition of a money judgment against him in the amount of $26,254,781 which was ordered to be forfeited to the United States.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt, who accepted the guilty pleas today, set sentencing for Aleman and Barbosa on Dec. 9, 2013, at which time they face up 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
The charges against Lagos remain pending. He is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.
The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Casey N. MacDonald and Grady J. Leupold are prosecuting the case.