October 24, 2016
Iowa Man Pleads Guilty to Motor Carrier Fraud Scheme
On October 24, 2016, Bret Tratchel, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Davenport, Iowa, to wire fraud and false statements. Tratchel, who previously owned several motor carrier and transportation logistics companies, contracted with unsuspecting shippers to haul freight for a set price and then fraudulently billed customers multiple times for the same load.
The investigation found that Tratchel provided false information to FMCSA when applying for Motor Carrier and Broker Authority. FMCSA requires motor carriers to disclose prior company affiliations. Tratchel operated CK Logistics and intentionally failed to disclose to FMCSA that he had business interests and was associated with BT Ent LLC Inc., and JBT Logistics LLC.
This scheme allowed Tratchel to confuse his customers, circumvent legitimate registration requirements, and operate without compliance and proper FMCSA authority. As part of the scheme, Tratchel submitted false invoices, bills of lading, or similar documents to his customers to cause them to pay him fraudulently. Quaker Transportation, a victim of this scheme, paid $35,801 as a result of illegitimate invoices.
DOT-OIG worked this investigation jointly with the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Iowa.