Ex-trucking CFO sentenced in $8 million wire fraud, tax scheme

Ex-Bison Global CFO sentenced to four eyars

The former chief financial officer of a Texas logistics company was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on Wednesday and ordered to pay back nearly $8 million for her involvement in an elaborate five-year fraud and tax evasion scheme.

Nicolette “Nicky” Osborne, 50, of Pflugerville, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement on an income tax return in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in February 2020. 

Prosecutors claim that over a five-year period, from July 2012 to July 2017, she used her executive position at Bison Global Logistics of Pflugerville to devise a scheme to submit false, fraudulent and inflated receivables to factoring companies for her personal gain. 

She also failed to report her commissions from her alleged fraud scheme as income to the IRS, according to court filings. 

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman sentenced Osborne to 46 months in federal prison and ordered her to adhere to five years of supervised release upon completing her sentence. 

Osborne must pay nearly $7.5 million in restitution to ProBilling and Funding Service of Alabama, a factoring services company, and $596,425 to the IRS.

As CFO of Bison, Osborne’s responsibilities included presenting valid and eligible accounts receivable to RTS and ProBilling for payment under a factoring agreement. 

However, federal investigators claim that she knew Bison’s “true accounts receivable amounts were substantially less than the amounts that she represented to the factoring companies, and she knew that the factoring companies were paying more for Bison’s receivables than they were actually worth,” according to court documents.

Bison was forced to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2017, after ProBilling “uncovered an ongoing scheme by [Bison’s] former chief financial officer,” court filings stated. The United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) was Bison’s largest customer. 

The trucking company’s operating authority was revoked by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in August 2017. At the time of Bison’s closure, it had 68 drivers and the same number of power units, according to FMCSA data.

“The FBI is committed to fight fraud at every level,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs said in a statement.

Read more articles by FreightWaves Senior Editor Clarissa Hawes.

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