Three people who operated trucking companies in Perry County schemed to defraud customers, threatening not to deliver loads in some cases to get payment before it was due, a federal grand jury charged Wednesday.
The grand jury indicted Elliot C. Campbell, Melinda J. Campbell and Bryan Napier on charges that included wire fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion, some with a maximum possible sentence of 20 years.
The grand jury said the three controlled or operated several trucking companies, including Interstate Lines Inc., West Coast Trans Inc., and Zink Inc., which bid on interstate freight-hauling jobs online.
The contracts often required expedited delivery and entitled the haulers to get paid only after delivery, but the Campbells and Napier would sometimes have loads picked up, then threaten not to deliver them unless they got paid first, the indictment said.
As shipping brokers filed complaints on them, the Campbells and Napier formed other companies under different names to "continue their scheme by misleading customers about their identities and avoiding the poor reputation their scheme had created," the indictment charged.
The three used fake names, employed technology to make it appear their companies' telephone and fax numbers were not in Kentucky, and lied to federal regulators, the indictment said.
The government is seeking to seize five trucks and four trailers from the defendants, as well as a payment equal to what they made from the alleged illegal conduct.