Financial Fraud: Mark R. Wogsland and Bret S. Naggs Charged in Alleged Participation in a Complex Accounting And Securities Fraud Scheme
Two former executives of Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc., a publicly traded transportation and trucking company formerly headquartered in Cudahy, Wisconsin, were charged in an indictment unsealed today for their alleged participation in a complex accounting and securities fraud scheme that resulted in a loss of more than $245 million in shareholder value.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Regional Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Ullom of the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) and Special Agent in Charge R. Justin Tolomeo of the FBI’s Milwaukee Field Office made the announcement.
Mark R. Wogsland, 53, and Bret S. Naggs, 52, both of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, were charged in an indictment filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin with one count of conspiracy to make false statements to a public company’s accountants and to falsify a public company’s books, records and accounts; one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud; three counts of securities fraud; and four counts of wire fraud. Naggs, the former controller for Roadrunner’s Truckload operating segment, and Wogsland, the former controller and director of accounting for Roadrunner’s Truckload operating segment, both worked out of Roadrunner’s corporate headquarters in Cudahy. Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc. is currently headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois.
“According to the allegations in the indictment, Mark Wogsland and Bret Naggs engaged in a massive securities and accounting fraud scheme that misled shareholders, regulators, and the investing public, and ultimately caused a loss of more than $245 million in shareholder value,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “The Criminal Division is committed to protecting investors and the integrity of U.S. securities exchanges, and we will vigorously pursue corporate executives who engage in deceptive and fraudulent accounting practices.”
“The stability our financial markets depends upon public companies issuing accurate financial statements,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Krueger. “We commend the FBI and the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General for its excellent efforts in investigating this case.”
“Working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners, the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General is committed to preventing and detecting corporate fraud and corruption schemes within transportation-related companies intent on providing false or misleading information to the federal government,” said DOT-OIG Regional Special Agent Ullom. “Today’s indictment helps reinforce the message that executives involved in all modes of transportation must uphold the public’s trust and maintain the highest levels of integrity.”
“Corporate fraud remains a high priority for the FBI,” said Special Agent in Charge Tolomeo. “Perpetrators who mislead investors and manipulate financial data to falsely inflate business performance will face justice for their crimes.”
“This indictment makes it clear that the FBI, its fellow field offices, and federal partners are committed to working together to hold those accountable who would attempt to manipulate the market,” said J.C. Hacker, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This alleged fraud caused significant harm to Roadrunner and its shareholders for personal profit.”
The indictment alleges that between 2014 and 2017, Naggs, Wogsland and their co-conspirators carried out a complex scheme to mislead Roadrunner’s shareholders, independent auditors, regulators and the investing public about Roadrunner’s true financial condition. According to the indictment, beginning in 2014, Naggs, Wogsland and their co-conspirators identified at least $7 million in overstated accounts on the balance sheet of one of Roadrunner’s largest operating companies, Roadrunner Intermodal Services Inc. (RRIS), which included old, uncollectable customer debts with static balances; understated and increasing liabilities for historic debt owed by terminated drivers; and overstated accounts for licenses and other “prepaid assets” that no longer had any actual value. Instead of addressing the misstated accounts by writing them off, the indictment alleges, Naggs, Wogsland and their co-conspirators purposefully left the vast majority of the misstated accounts on Roadrunner’s books in order to fraudulently boost Roadrunner’s financial performance and mislead Roadrunner’s shareholders, independent auditors, regulators and the investing public about Roadrunner’s true financial condition.
According to the indictment, by late 2014, Naggs, Wogsland and their co-conspirators developed a plan to write off a portion of the misstated accounts. However, instead of immediately writing off the full amount, Naggs, Wogsland and their co-conspirators directed RRIS finance employees to adjust the balance sheet by a small amount each month, in order to conceal from Roadrunner’s shareholders, independent auditors, regulators and the investing public the true nature and extent of the misstated accounts. However, after learning that Roadrunner’s performance at other operating companies had deteriorated, the indictment alleges, Naggs, Wogsland and their co-conspirators abandoned the plan and, in some cases, reversed write-offs that had already been booked. The indictment further alleges that beginning in May 2015, Naggs and other Roadrunner employees received monthly financial reports from RRIS, which included profit and loss figures both with and without the planned monthly write-off.
The indictment alleges that as a result of the scheme, nearly all of the misstated accounts remained on RRIS’s balance sheet from 2014 until early 2017, when Roadrunner announced for the first time that it would be restating its previously reported financial results. Three trading days following the announcement, the price of Roadrunner’s shares dropped from $11.74 to $7.54 per share, causing a loss in shareholder value of more than $160 million. In early 2018, Roadrunner issued restated financial results for 2014 through the third quarter of 2016, acknowledging that it had identified material accounting errors resulting from material weaknesses and management override of internal controls. Three trading days after announcing the restated financial results, Roadrunner’s share price further dropped from $7.14 to $4.90, causing an additional loss in shareholder value of more than $85 million.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General’s Chicago Office and the FBI’s Milwaukee and Atlanta Field Offices are investigating the case. Assistant Chief Henry Van Dyck and Trial Attorneys Caitlin Cottingham and David Stier of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case, with assistance from the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The Securities and Exchange Commission also provided assistance in this matter.