Former Trucking School Director Facing Fraud Charges
Truck driving schools are the type of locations focused on learning and helping people progress in their careers. That being said, honesty is a top quality sought in trucking school officials.
When it is believed that a trucking school owner or management employ engaged in illegal practices, the entire facility may be affected. This includes everyone who trained there, and to some extent even the companies that hired the trainees.
The previous head of a Tucson-based trucking school is facing 16 felony counts of fraud, and is alleged to have embezzled almost a million dollars from former students and employers.
In 2015, Robert Alan Knapp was let go as director of HDS Truck Driving Institute after over a decade on the job. The former manager was indicted by a grand jury on 10 counts of bank fraud, 5 counts of aggravated identity theft, and a count of federal student-aid fraud.
The 69-year-old pleaded not guilty and was assigned a court-ordered attorney when he said he could not afford a defense lawyer.
According to witness testimonies, Knapp had discussed his gambling issues in the past and is a frequent visitor to casinos. Knapp reportedly made $74,000 a year as director of the school.
He is accused of intercepting checks, and depositing them into a business bank account – an account he’d opened without informing the school.
Police were originally involved in the matter during late 2014, where a student filed a fraud complaint stating he hadn’t received his student aid check in the mail. The check’s proceeds were traced to the account Knapp had put in place.
An investigation revealed the school had weak fraud-prevention measures, Knapp had a large amount of financial authority in his position. He was in charge of distributing incoming checks to their recipients. Auditors usually warn businesses not to place all of this responsibility on a single person, as it increases the chances of fraud.
The owner is placing the blame on accountants who audited the books, stating they failed to make the situation known. Wells Fargo is also a defendant in the case for reportedly allowing Knapp to deposit hundreds of checks that weren’t directed to him.