October 24, 2019
Ten Individuals Indicted in Utah for Trucking Bribery Scheme
On October 24, 2019, 10 individuals were indicted in U.S. District Court, Salt Lake City, Utah, for an alleged bribery scheme involving several trucking companies. According to the indictment, the individuals paid more than $1 million in bribes to a manager at Federal Express Ground (FXG) location in Utah.
- Five individuals involved with Salt Lake Trucking Group (SLTG)—Yevgeny Felix Tuchinsky, Alexsander Vasiliyevich Barsukov, Konstantin Mikhaylovich Tomilin, Leonid Isaakovich Teyf, and Felix Tsipelzon—were indicted for wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering in connection with a 10-year conspiracy that started in 2009.
- Ryan Mower was indicted in four separate indictments for wire fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns. Mower was a line-haul manager at FXG and that company’s highest-ranking employee in Utah from about 2008 to October 2019.
- Four other owners of multiple Utah-based trucking companies—Davor Kovacevic, Zlate Balulovski, William Murdock, and Hubert Ivan Ugarte—were indicted with Mower on wire-fraud and money-laundering charges.
FXG moves packages around the country through approximately 39 hubs or distribution centers, including one in North Salt Lake City, and contracts with local trucking companies. Mower’s primary responsibilities at the North Salt Lake City hub included overseeing contract service providers and ensuring that trucking companies complied with FXG policies and regulations.
The indictment alleges that the five co-conspirators from SLTG used Mower’s position to influence FXG’s process for awarding new truck routes and that Mower helped them grow their businesses by submitting false information to FXG. Allegedly, the SLTG officials falsified mileage reports and Mower inflated the number of miles the trucks drove each week. Additionally, the trucking companies received payments from FXG for “ghost routes” that they never actually completed. Over the course of 10 years, SLTG received about $150 million in revenue from FXG, and the five co-conspirators paid approximately $300,000 in bribes to Mower.
Kovacevic and Balulovski allegedly began to bribe Mower in April 2012 and, in exchange, asked for and received favors, preferential treatment, and assistance in defrauding FXG. According to the indictment, as a result of the fraud, Kovacevic and Balulovski’s companies received over $21 million in FXG net revenue over 7.5 years and paid Mower approximately $165,000.
According to the indictment, Murdock began to bribe Mower in approximately February 2014. To gain unearned income, Murdock allegedly obtained routes fraudulently, obscured business ownership and growth, and falsely reported miles driven. Over a 5-year period, his companies received about $19 million in FXG revenue, and he paid Mower at least $50,000.
At some point before January 2012, Ugarte allegedly started to bribe Mower and used Mower’s position to influence FXG’s process for awarding new truck routes and to falsify mileage reports. As a result, FXG paid Ugarte’s companies more than they were entitled to receive—approximately $90 million in FXG revenue over the course of 8 years. Ugarte paid Mower at least $490,000 in bribes, according to the indictment.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation Division.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.