INDIANAPOLIS — Executives from an Indianapolis-based trucking company are federally charged with fraud.
US Attorney Josh Minkler detailed the accusations against William Meek and Bobby Peavler Thursday at a press conference. He said the two concocted a scheme to lead the companies investors and buyers of their inventory that the company was worth more than it actually was.
“Meek, Peavler, and others lied to independent accountants, hid documents, and deleted emails the accountants had requested,” Minkler said. “At the end of the day they were paid their salary, they didn’t tell the truth, and the investing public lost money. That’s a crime.”
The indictment accuses the two men of taking advantage of an accounting error in the company’s books in 2015 and 2016 that indicated the company’s value was much higher than it actually was, a difference of tens of millions of dollars. Rather than fixing the error, Meek and Peavler reported the numbers as being accurate to investors.
Using the false information, the two executives then artificially inflated the prices of some of their older model trucks that the company was looking to offload to a truck dealer.
“These intentionally inflated prices on the invoices, they did this so Celadon’s books would not reflect the fact the Celadon’s trucks were worth significantly less than previously reported to investors,” Minkler said.
Once the scheme was revealed, the companies stock value went from trading at around $9.50 a share to just 50-cents a share. In the end, shareholders lost around $60 million.
(Photo by WISH-TV.)