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Trial of the bankruptcy of the major freight forwarder: Leased vehicles resold - two and a half years in prison

GÖTTINGEN. The fraud trial at the insolvent Osteroder major forwarding company Ricö Internationale Transporte und Logistik GmbH came to an end yesterday with a mild verdict. The commercial criminal chamber of the regional court in Göttingen sentenced the 45-year-old company founder and former managing director Jens P. to two and a half years in prison.

The judges found that the defendant was guilty of commercial fraud in six cases. This resulted in damage of 400,000 euros. The prosecution's indictment was based on 78 crimes and damage of five million euros. After four months of negotiations, however, those involved in the process had agreed to discontinue most of the proceedings.

The court also overturned the defendant's arrest warrant so that the 45-year-old can spend Christmas free before serving the remainder of his sentence. With their verdict, the judges were subject to the prosecution's request, which had demanded a three-year prison sentence.

The applications of the defense were different: The Göttingen lawyer Steffen Stern pleaded for a prison sentence of two years on probation. His colleague Matthias Waldraff (Hanover) described a prison sentence of a maximum of two and a half years as "sustainable". The defendant, who has been in custody for nine months, had previously admitted to fraud involving leasing vehicles. This confession had a considerably mitigating effect. As a result, the process could be shortened, said the presiding judge August-Wilhelm Marahrens.

The defendant's scam was always the same, said the judge. Whenever the Ricö company was “clammy”, the managing director leased vehicles to raise capital. After paying a few installments, he sold a total of 14 vehicles to other leasing companies. He had falsely pretended to them that Ricö was the owner. He then leased back the vehicles that were sold. The leasing companies deceived in this way suffered considerable damage because they did not receive any consideration for the purchase price they had paid.

The defendant was unable to save the company: In March 2008, the Osteroder Spedition, which at times had several thousand vehicles on the streets, had to file for bankruptcy.

Several thousand trucks

The judgment is final. This included a penalty order for € 6,000 imposed by the Göttingen district court for tax evasion. The head of the company evaded taxes of almost 200,000 euros.

A week ago the court had closed the proceedings against the co-accused fleet manager of the forwarding company and two Dekra employees against payment of monetary conditions. They had been charged with aiding and abetting.

From Heidi Niemann