MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The operator of two South St. Paul trucking companies has been indicted for allegedly defrauding drivers into paying back settlement funds they received from him as part of an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Marlon Louis Danner, 66, of Inver Grove Heights, operates Danner, Inc. and Bull Dog Leasing, Inc, which supply trucks and drivers to construction projects through the state. He was charged with six counts of wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud and one count of making a false statement.
According to the indictment, Danner operated a scheme from February to June to reclaim the money he agreed to pay truck drivers as part of a settlement between him and MnDOT stemming from 2008 and 2009.
The settlement was part of a Minnesota Highway 120-Century Avenue reconstruction project, where some of the funding came from federal funds. As a result, Danner had to pay a mandated truck rental fee to the drivers hired for the project. The allocation of funds was overseen by MnDOT and the Federal Highway Administration.
An investigation revealed that Danner had underpaid the drivers. In February of 2010, MnDOT reached a settlement with Danner to pay more than $185,000 to 27 drivers for the underpayment. MnDOT mailed the checks out on March 2, but Danner had allegedly phoned several drivers instructing them to return the settlement checks to him once they arrived.
According to the indictment, Danner told the drivers that MnDOT made a mistake regarding the underpayments.
By June 3, Danner had received more than $120,000 of the approximately $185,000. He did not disclose the repayments to MnDOT, according to the indictment.
If convicted, Danner faces a potential maximum sentence of 20 years on each wire and mail fraud count and five years on the false statement charge.