July 17, 2020
By Caity Witucki
Contributing Editor, Fraud Friday
Fraud Friday — Utah Trucking Company Owner Faces Multiple Fraud Charges
The owner of Frisbu Trucking, Hubert Ivan Ugarte, is now facing multiple fraud charges for lying on a PPP loan application about his other pending federal criminal charges.
On October 24, 2019, a federal grand jury in Utah returned an indictment charging Ugarte and others following a multi-year wire fraud and bribery scheme investigation in which it is alleged Ugarte bribed employees at the Salt Lake City Hub of FedEx ground to obtain preferential treatment for his trucking companies. Ugarte faces four counts of wire fraud and six counts of money laundering in the pending case.
In May 2020, Ugarte and of the controller of Frisbu, Lisa Bradshaw Rowberry, allegedly applied for a $210,000 PPP loan. According to court documents, Ugarte and Rowberry, falsely answered “no” when asked if Ugarte was under formal criminal charges in any jurisdiction when filling out the PPP loan application. Ugarte also answered “no” when asked if he had been placed on pretrial diversion, which federal prosecutors also say is false because he entered into a two-year pretrial diversion to resolve a felony drug possession charge in 1988.
Court filings state Ugarte’s PPP loan application was rejected or denied by two banks after they discovered he was under federal indictment in the FedEx bribery case. However, Rowberry eventually reached out to a friend she knew in the banking industry and reapplied for the PPP loan third time. As a result of providing materially false information on the loan application, Rowberry was able to convince Transportation Alliance Bank (TAB) to accept the loan.
Just four days after the loan was disbursed, $126,965.27 were allegedly diverted to Kenworth Sales. The complaint alleges Ugarte’s company owed approximately $66,000 a month in lease or purchase payments to Kenworth for 13 tractors. Records show Kenworth received the money for truck payments and a small amount for various truck parts. The complaint alleges Ugarte used 60% of the loan to pay the past due truck payments, leaving only 40% for payroll costs.
Ugarte’s initial court appearance was on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 and Rowberry’s preliminary hearing is set for July 28, 2020. Both defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.