by Mickey Smith
A Michigan man was sentenced to 30 months in prison following a guilty plea in connection with taking two motor coaches from Lamoille Valley Transportation (LVT) using fraudulent information regarding payment.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Seth Murdock, 55, pled guilty to a charge of interstate transportation of stolen vehicles. After his 30-month sentence, he will also serve a three-year term of supervised release and also will pay $30,694 in restitution.
Murdock was indicted in a federal grand jury in Burlington in September of 2011, shortly after his arrest. He has been in custody since he was arrested by FBI agents.
According to the press release, Murdock Tours and Travel (a bus company owned by Seth Murdock) agreed to purchase two motor coaches for $300,000 each from LVT. Documents state Murdock was financing the purchase through a $1,050,000 loan from Strada Capital of California. The indictment charged “false and fraudulent financial information about his company” was provided to Strada by Murdock, including “bogus tax returns, altered bank statements and falsified financial statements.”
The press release states, Murdock was able to convince LVT to turn custody of the buses over to Murdock before the loan was closed. The press release states Murdock was able to assure LVT the loan would be finalized within a day or two. The loan was rejected by Strada when the financial information was found to be fraudulent, but in the meantime Murdock had driven the buses from Vermont to Michigan and began using them.
A second loan, in the amount of $670,000, was sought from a Florida company, according to the indictment. But the press release went on to state, “Murdock also submitted fraudulent financial information to that company and did not obtain a loan.”
The coaches were seized and returned to LVT after having been driven “thousands of miles and suffered damage.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples. Murdock was represented by John Pacht.