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July 9, 2020 12:45 PM, EDT

Utah Trucker Already Under Indictment Faces New Fraud Charges

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A Utah trucking company owner already under federal indictment for his participation in a “pay-to-play” scheme has been charged with lying on a federal loan application to secure a $210,000 COVID-19 small business loan under the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

Federal authorities said that Hubert Ugarte, 52, of Draper, owner of Frisbu Trucking Inc. of Salt Lake City, was arrested June 25 on four counts including wire fraud, conspiracy and removal of property to prevent seizure, loan application fraud and money laundering.

Lisa Bradshaw Rowberry, 49, of Provo, Frisbu’s controller, also is charged in the case.

In October, Ugarte was arrested in a separate case on federal criminal charges of paying bribes over an eight-year period totaling about $490,000 to Ryan Mower, a top executive in Utah for FedEx Ground. In return for the bribes, the indictment alleges that Ugarte fraudulently received priority assigned runs and covered up failed contractual performances and falsely reported miles to gain unearned income. At the time of his arrest, Ugarte owned approximately 20 trucking companies operating more than 40 tractors, and received about $90 million in FedEx revenue.

At the time of the indictment, FedEx Ground called the scheme “deplorable behavior” and “shocking,” saying it had no knowledge of the fraud prior to the charges being filed.

Ugarte faces four counts of wire fraud and six counts of money laundering in the FedEx case.

The most recent charges allege that Ugarte, with Rowberry’s assistance, committed multiple acts of fraud when they submitted a fraudulent loan application to the Small Business Administration to obtain a forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loan of $210,000 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act by answering “no” to questions on the application asking whether the defendant was under formal criminal charges in any jurisdiction.

“His answer was false because he was under federal indictment in the FedEx fraud case when he answered the question,” court documents said.

The government also alleges that Ugarte received a payment of $60,957.82 for a wrecked semi-tractor in Nevada after Rowberry submitted an insurance claim.

Authorities said the check should have been turned over to the FBI subject to a seizure warrant in Ugarte’s FedEx fraud case. Rather than turn the money over to the FBI, Rowberry deposited the insurance check into one of Ugarte’s bank accounts.

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The money has now been spent, federal authorities said.

In addition, court documents alleged that information from current and former Frisbu Trucking employees suggests Ugarte has not been complying with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, and is putting the public in danger with the way he is operating his trucking business.

Federal prosecutors said he refuses to take the mandatory DOT drug tests, Ugarte and his employees are driving in excess of their allotted DOT hours of service, and Ugarte and his employees are falsifying their DOT logbooks.

Prosecutors oppose his release from jail, saying he would be a flight risk.

“He cannot be trusted and is a danger to the community,” a federal motion alleged. “He has four to five properties in Peru to include a $500,000 home in Lima, Peru, where his parents are currently living.”

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