KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that three Kansas City, Mo., area men were convicted in federal court today for their roles in a conspiracy to steal nearly $1 million worth of trucks and trailers and their cargo.
Kenneth Ray Borders, 43, of Kansas City, Mo., Jon Dirk Dickerson, 56, of Raytown, Mo., and his son, Kyle Wayne Dickerson, 31, of Holden, Mo., were found guilty of the charges contained in a Dec. 14, 2012, federal indictment. They were taken into federal custody immediately after the verdicts were returned by the jury.
Evidence presented during the trial indicated that all three of the co-defendants participated in a conspiracy that involved the theft of commercial trucks and trailers and their cargo in Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. They worked together to steal trucks, trailers, and cargo and then dispose of them. Sometimes they used the trucks and trailers themselves to make money by hauling loads for customers and sometimes they sold the stolen trucks and trailers.
The conspiracy involved the thefts of five Freightliner trucks and 17 trailers between 2005 and 2011. The stolen trailers included refrigerated trailers containing such cargo as 39,000 pounds of meat, 565 boxes of beef valued at $149,790, $125,000 worth of frozen ribs, and several refrigerated trailers that each contained tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of frozen chicken, including a load of frozen chicken wings valued at $59,706. Also stolen were utility trailers containing such cargo as Budweiser beer valued at $16,657, Nike shoes valued at $217,353 and 21,018 pounds of Little Sizzler sausages.
Stolen cargo was sold cheaply to anyone who would buy it. Some of the cargo was sold out of the back of the trailer; some of it was sold to a tow truck driver or a convenience store operator to resell. For example, co-defendant Myron Piggie, 52, of Kansas City, Mo., earlier pleaded guilty to possessing stolen property. Piggie admitted that he accepted 12 pallets of stolen Budweiser beer products (valued at approximately $7,566). Piggie agreed to sell the beer at his store, MP Convenience Store in Kansas City, and split the profits with conspirators. However, he learned that the police were aware he had the stolen beer. Because he did not want to be found to be in the possession of the stolen beer, Piggie gave it all away, selling little or none of it.
Borders was involved in stealing the trucks, trailers, and cargo. He sold the cargo to others to resell, sometimes fronting the money by allowing his “customer” to pay him after they sold the product. Borders used some of the stolen trucks and trailers himself to make money by delivering cargo.
Jon Dickerson often had the first right to purchase stolen trucks and trailers. In fact, Borders actually had a “shopping list” from Dickerson listing the trucks and trailers that he wanted, so that Borders could keep an eye out for them and steal them if the opportunity presented itself.
Jon Dickerson and his son, Kyle Dickerson, also were involved in stealing trucks and trailers. They used them in their own trucking business, sometimes just for replacement parts with the remains sold for scrap. Kyle Dickerson had the tools, ability, and willingness to disguise the stolen nature of the trucks and trailers by altering their Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) so that they could be used in their trucking business without alerting authorities when they were stopped or inspected.
The Dickersons reduced their costs of doing business by stealing trucks and trailers themselves, or by buying stolen trucks and trailers from Borders, at a fraction of their fair market value. Since they had little financial investment in the stolen trucks and trailers, and knew that they had a readily-available and cheap supply of stolen trucks and trailers, they had little incentive to maintain and repair their fleet. As a result, their fleet wore out and had safety issues, such as problems with brakes and tires. When their fleet wore out, they simply replaced them with more stolen trucks and trailers.
The Dickersons did not bother to maintain and repair their trucks and trailers but continued to operate them in interstate commerce. As a result, DOT/FMCSA and other law enforcement repeatedly cited their company and drivers for failing inspections and violating regulations. The company's compliance reviews led to unsatisfactory safety ratings which led to a total of $450,000 in fines and numerous “out of service orders” directing them to cease operating in interstate commerce. The Dickersons just ignored the orders and the fines.
At a DOT roadside inspection, a Dickerson truck, trailer, or cargo could be delayed, or even impounded, if their poor record or condition prompted too many questions. The Dickersons’ scheme, however, included a way to downplay this risk. The Dickersons operated what is known in the industry as “chameleon carriers.” They simply abandoned their old company – along with its "baggage" of safety violations, “out of service” orders, and unpaid fines – and began operating with a new company under a new name. Thus, after Jon Dickerson’s company Fish and More was subject to more than $150,000 in fines and four orders to cease interstate transportation, he began operating under the name D&T Trucking. After D&T Trucking was subject to nearly $300,000 in fines and 17 orders to cease interstate transportation, the United States obtained a civil injunction and default judgment, and D&T Trucking was permanently enjoined from operating in interstate commerce. At that point, Kyle Dickerson got a DOT number for Night Line Trucking and Repair. Night Line Trucking and Repair received an unsatisfactory safety rating and an order to cease interstate transportation. The Dickersons then started operating under the name Nightline Trucking, LLC.
In addition to Piggie, co-defendants Christopher Dwight Turner, 45, and Michael O’Neal Foster, 55, both of Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods. Turner admitted that he received approximately $386,932 worth of stolen meat. Foster admitted that he received a stolen Freightliner Classic XL truck, which he and others drove out of Missouri to both California and Indiana. Foster used it in his business, Kembeh Transportation.
In two separate, but related, cases, Jaccard Fears,46, of Raymore, Mo., and Roy Lynn Parvin, 54, of Kansas City, Mo., have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Fears was employed by the trucking businesses operated by the co-conspirators. He was paid by Borders and Foster to remove emblems, decals, and other ownership information from stolen trucks and replace them with emblems depicting they were owned by Kembeh Trucking (Foster's Company) and others. Parvin admitted that he purchased multiple loads of stolen property from Borders and Turner, including stolen meat, dog food, and appliances totaling more than $6,000. Parvin was also in possession of beef stolen in Nebraska and sausage stolen in Kansas.
In addition to the conspiracy, Borders was found guilty of four counts of aiding and abetting the possession of stolen goods, one count of aiding and abetting the transportation of stolen goods and one count of aiding and abetting the possession of stolen vehicles.
Jon Dickerson was also found guilty of three counts of aiding and abetting the possession of stolen goods and one count of aiding and abetting the possession of stolen vehicles.
Kyle Dickerson was also found guilty of one count of aiding and abetting the transportation of stolen vehicles, two counts of aiding and abetting the possession of stolen goods and one count of aiding and abetting the possession of stolen vehicles.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated over a three-day period before returning the verdicts, ending a trial that began February 18, 2014.
Under federal statutes, Borders is subject to a sentence of up to 65 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1,750,000. Jon and Kyle Dickerson are each subject to a sentence of up to 45 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1,250,000. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office. The court will determine forfeiture amounts at a later date.This case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Gregg R. Coonrod and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cindi S. Woolery. It was investigated by the Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the National White Collar Crime Center, the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center, Travelers Investigative Services, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Florida State Highway Patrol, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.