Probation brings an end to bank fraud case

COLUMBIANA – A former city businessman was recently placed on three years probation for his involvement in a $3.6 million check-kiting scheme.

According to online reports from WFMJ in Youngstown, Lee Stoneburner of Columbiana was the last of three former Dart Trucking executives to be sentenced through the U.S. District Court for the scheme made public this summer following extensive investigation by the FBI.

Stoneburner was president of the company that was originally located in Canfield before moving to Esterly Drive in Columbiana. It now operates out of North Lima and is under new management.

In addition to the probation sentence Stoneburner was ordered to have his location electronically monitored for eight months, according to reports.

He and CEO Timothy Kephart of Morrisdale, Pa., and Chief Financial Officer Mark Michael of Clearfield, Pa., appeared before Judge Dan Polster of the U.S. District Court Northern Division this summer and pleaded guilty to their charges, which were filed in August of 2011.

Stoneburner pleaded to conspiring to commit bank fraud by engaging in the scheme and was sentenced on Monday.

Kephart and Michael were sentenced earlier. Kephart was given 46 months in prison for bank fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and Michael was given 30 months in prison for bank fraud, according to WFMJ.

When the scheme was made public by the Justice Department this summer, the department revealed it occurred between October 2007 and February 2010 and the bad checks were written on accounts held at the Columbiana Huntington Bank. The checks were kited to pay the company’s bills, expenses and salaries by depositing bad checks into controlled disbursements accounts, or CDAs.

Lee Stoneburner is the son of Jerry Stoneburner, co-owner of Better Management Corporation of Ohio Inc. (BMC) and owner of Buckeye Transfer Realty, both of which are located on Esterly Drive. Jerry Stoneburner said Thursday that neither company is affiliated with Dart Trucking, and his son is no longer involved with Dart.

“There is absolutely no relationship between Better Management Corporation and Dart Trucking. Dart Trucking was a renter here and they have since moved up to North Lima (in 2010),” he said.

Dart Trucking was affiliated with BMC at one time, Jerry Stoneburner said, but that was roughly 10 years ago, and a Dart official who did not give his name said they no longer have any business dealings in Columbiana.

BMC is also a trucking company, specializing in waste disposal, and Buckeye Transfer handles the real estate operations of the industrial area, in addition to managing the operations of the arrival, shipment and storage of large quantities of sand used in the hydraulic fracturing process of oil and gas wells.

Lee Stoneburner is general manager of Buckeye Transfer and his sentencing will have no effect on that position, his father said.

“His basic duties are marketing and customer relations. He is excellent at that. He is really the staple of developing this oil and gas business,” he said.