Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Road Haulage Operators Jailed for Thefts of Trucks and Freight

Thieves Sentenced to Million Dollar Penalties and Decades of Imprisonment
Shipping News Feature

US – A father and son pair who owned several road haulage businesses have been sentenced to a combined total of more than 24 years in federal prison for their roles in a 14-year-long conspiracy to steal more than $1 million worth of trucks and trailers and their cargo. Jon ‘Dirk’ Dickerson, of Raytown, Missouri, was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in federal prison without parole, and his son, Kyle Wayne Dickerson, of Holden, Missouri, was sentenced to nine years and two months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered the Dickersons to pay $995,129 in restitution and a forfeiture money judgment of $1,270,089.

Both Dickersons have been in federal custody since the conclusion of a two-week trial on Feb. 28, 2014 after a lengthy Department of Justice case. The Dickersons, along with co-defendant Kenneth Ray Borders, of Kansas City, Missouri, were found guilty at trial of participating in a conspiracy that involved the theft of commercial trucks and trailers and their cargo in Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska from 1998 to December 2013. They worked together to steal trucks, trailers, and cargo and then dispose of them, sometimes using the trucks and trailers themselves to make money by hauling loads for customers and other times selling the stolen trucks and trailers.

Borders was sentenced on Dec. 8, 2014, to 21 years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Borders to pay $1,270,089 in restitution to 27 victims. Eight additional defendants have pleaded guilty and been sentenced: Christopher Dwight Turner, Reginald Shawn Tidwell, Harold Robertson, Verdie Carr Jr., Ryonell Eugene Frederick, Michael O’Neal Foster, and Myron Piggie, all of Kansas City.

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.

Borders 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 had Borders steal vehicles to provide him with a supply of replacement parts for his trucks.

Jon and 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 did not bother to maintain and repair their trucks and trailers but continued to operate them in interstate commerce. As a result, the Department of Transportion (DOT) 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 ignored both the orders and the fines.

The Dickersons operated as ‘chameleon carriers’ - simply abandoning their old company along with its truckload of safety violations, out of service orders, and unpaid fines and began operating with a new company under a new name. 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 US 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.

Beyond the direct losses to their victims, the Dickersons’ actions had significant impact on the trucking industry and its regulatory system. Their business morphed through four versions over 14 years in an effort to avoid DOT sanctions for faulty or failed equipment that would have shut down the businesses. These business practices resulted in hundreds of vehicle stops and inspections which taxed various arms of the DOT and parallel state agencies and created extensive and expensive legal processes. The Dickersons, using their knowledge of the trucking regulations, took advantage of slow reporting and lack of federal-state consolidated record keeping to exploit the system until finally the extreme measure of an Out of Service and Record Consolidation Order was issued on July 29, 2013, putting their last company officially out of business.