WILLIAMSPORT - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Robert Else, III, of Elysburg, Pennsylvania, president of King Coal Tours, a charter bus company, has been charged with fraud in connection with a government-funded public transportation program.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Else, age 65, is charged with wire fraud in a Criminal Information filed today in U.S. District Court in Williamsport. The government alleged that, as president of the charter bus company based in Kulpmont, Pennsylvania, Else submitted false annual budgets and monthly invoices for expenses to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The government agencies administer a program to provide financial assistance for public transportation for the Lower Anthracite Transportation System (LATS), a regional network, via the bus company.
The Information alleges that from 2006 and 2012, Else carried out a scheme to defraud PennDOT, DOT and Mount Carmel Borough by inflating budges and fraudulent overbilling and caused funds in the amount of $29,935 to be transmitted by wire communications to a bank account of his company in June 2012.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the total amount of the fraud could be between $150,000 and $400,000.
The government also filed a plea agreement, including payment of restitution, with the defendant which is subject to approval by the court.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Wayne P. Samuelson is assigned to prosecute the case.
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statues and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is ten years imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000.
Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not necessarily an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
Information Posted from US Attorney's Office of Middle District of Pennsylvania Press Release