Battlefield Man Sentenced for $945,000 Fraud Scheme
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Battlefield, Mo., man has been sentenced in federal court for embezzling $945,000 from his employer.
Travis E. Honaker, 36, of Battlefield, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, to three years and one month in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Honaker to pay $945,200 in restitution.
On March 18, 2014, Honaker pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. Honaker admitted that he engaged in a scheme to defraud his employer, Prime, Inc., from Aug. 22, 2007, to December 2011. Through his schemes, Honaker embezzled at least $945,200 over the five-year period of the investigation. The illegally obtained funds were used for Honaker’s personal living expenses and paid for such items as a 2005 BMW SUV, a 2009 Range Rover SUV, a down payment and subsequent mortgage payments on a residence in Battlefield and his wife’s extensive gambling expenses.
Honaker was employed as a salesperson at Success Leasing, Inc., an affiliated company of Prime. Honaker sold used equipment, including auxiliary power units (APUs) and used trucks that had previously been leased by Success to others. After the lease period expired and the trucks and equipment were returned to the company, Honaker was tasked with managing their sale to others.
In December 2011, Prime became aware that Honaker was engaged in illegal activity when they discovered that he was not reporting cash payments for APUs that he sold for Prime. A further audit of Honaker’s activities at Prime revealed that he was also receiving payments for unauthorized “finder’s fees,” “inspection fees,” or “deposits” on trucks owned by Prime that he sold. Honaker charged several of Prime’s largest clients a fee for “finding,” “inspecting,” or “holding” trucks for them. These payments, which Honaker never reported to his employer, typically amounted to $500 or $1,000 per truck, depending on the age or condition of each truck.
Honaker created a shell company, T&H Consulting, LLC, in January 2011 for the purpose of receiving these finder’s fees and deposits. Purchasers wired funds to this account, then Honaker transferred the funds to his personal bank accounts. The creation of the T&H account served to mask the nature of the transactions by creating a layer between Honaker and the purchasers.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Milligan. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.