Odessa Woman Pleads Guilty to $924,000 Bank Fraud
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Odessa, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to a $924,000 bank fraud scheme involving her family’s used truck dealership.
Susan E. Jones, 57, of Odessa, Mo., waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Sarah W. Hays to an information that charges her with one count of bank fraud.
Jones served as the corporate secretary of Transtar Truck Sales, Inc., a used truck dealership in Bates City, Mo., that buys over-the-road trucks. Jones handled banking matters for Transtar, which was owned by her father (now deceased) and her husband.
Transtar purchased many vehicles from out-of-state dealers and then exported the trucks out of the country. Transtar financed the purchase of its trucks through a series of floor plan loans obtained from Bank of Odessa. A revolving line of credit allows a borrower to obtain financing against a specific piece of collateral, such as a vehicle.
Beginning in 2007, Jones engaged in a scheme to defraud Bank of Odessa out of $924,355 by obtaining floor plan financing on specific vehicles and later deliberately withholding the funds received from the sale of that pledged collateral. On at least 38 occasions from March 3, 2007, to May 5, 2010, Jones made false representations to Bank of Odessa concerning pledges of collateral on promissory notes and security agreements that she submitted to the bank.
When Transtar wanted to draw against the floor plan note, Jones would contact the bank with the identifying information of the vehicle(s) being used to collateralize the transaction and the amount of request based upon her valuation of the vehicle(s). Bank of Odessa required Transtar to relinquish the original vehicle titles as collateral supporting the security agreements. For years, Transtar provided the original titles, but at some point Jones told Bank of Odessa that she was unable to provide the original titles due to timing issues involved in obtaining the Missouri titles. Transtar began providing the bank with copies of the titles in lieu of the original title to facilitate the sale of the trucks. On at least 38 occasions, Jones provided Bank of Odessa with copies of vehicle titles. But unbeknownst to Bank of Odessa, and contrary to the representations made by Jones, the copies of the titles referred to vehicles that were not then owned by Transtar.
Had Bank of Odessa known that the vehicles were not owned by Transtar, the bank would not have allowed them to be used as collateral, and would not have continued to service the loan. Bank of Odessa lost a total of approximately $924,355.
An FBI analysis of Jones’ spending reveals that she was spending heavily during the time, including gambling at casinos, buying season Chiefs tickets, and spending thousands on restaurants and travel. Over a period of two and a half years, Jones and her husband conducted 82 cash withdrawals at casinos totaling $27,919; made 204 payments to restaurants and bars totaling $17,373; spent $4,693 for Chiefs season tickets in 2008 and 2009; spent $1,300 for martial arts; made $11,672 in payments to the University of Phoenix; and paid $987 to Sands of Kahana Vaction Club in Lahanna, Hawaii. By 2010, Jones and her husband had $130,000 worth of credit card debt.
Bank of Odessa had also issued loans to Transtar for its building and equipment. Bank of Odessa rolled the shortage and loan balances together to arrive at a total indebtedness of approximately $1.2 million. On Nov. 9, 2010, the $1.2 million debt was separated into two loans in the amounts of $600,000 and $610,104 and collateralized by various assets pledged by Jones, her husband and her father. The loans are considered 12-month balloon notes and are renewed annually. Jones has made approximately $307,340 in repayments on the first of the two still-outstanding loans, and no payments on the second.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the government will request a sentence of one year and one day in federal prison. Jones must pay a money judgment of at least $778,943, less any payments she has made or may subsequently make to the Bank of Odessa prior to her sentencing, including $307,340 that she has already repaid.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the FBI.