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Pennsylvania Transit Operator and its Former Owner Suspended by FTA

On December 15, 2015, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) suspended Robert Else, the former President of King Coal Tours, and his company for his conviction in an FTA grant fraud scheme. Previously, he pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in November 2015. 

The FTA provided grant funds through PennDOT to local Pennsylvania communities, including Mount Carmel Borough, in order to develop and maintain public transportation systems. Mount Carmel, through its transportation service agency, the Lower Anthracite Transportation System (LATS), entered into annual contracts with King Coal Tours. King Coal Tours primarily operated as a charter bus business, but they entered into annual cost-plus contracts with Mount Carmel to provide public transportation services to LATS between 1984 and 2012.

Robert Else admitted that he overbilled and submitted false invoices for expenses incurred on buses used in his private tour business, which did not fall under the LATS contract. The investigation specifically revealed that Robert Else and King Coal Tours overbilled for approximately 68,745 gallons of tax-free diesel fuel, inflated invoices for approximately 120 replacement tires, billed parts and labor hours related to the maintenance charter buses, and illicitly billed for administrative hours for office personnel. The plea agreement indicates restitution will be made in an amount up to $500,000.

We are conducting this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the FTA

Note: A suspension or debarment frequently covers a specific period of time. Please consult the System for Award Management to determine whether a company or individual is currently suspended or debarred.