Loudon businessman pleads guilty to fraud, tax evasion

A Loudon County businessman admitted Monday that he bilked a firm of at least $1 million by filing bogus job claims.

Joseph D. Brandenburg pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips to wire fraud and tax evasion.

According to a plea deal brokered between Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. Morris and attorneys Donald A. Bosch and Ann Short-Bowers, Brandenburg, 37, operated Extreme Logistics, a trucking firm with clients including Bowater, TNT-General Motors and TNT-BMW.

The firm transported newsprint products for Bowater and automobiles and car parts for GM and BMW.

In March 2002, Brandenburg brokered a deal with Prime Financial Services Inc. to handle billing.

Under the terms of the deal, Brandenburg submitted to Prime invoices for each haul made, and Prime would pay Brandenburg - minus Prime's fee - in advance of payments by Bradenburg's trucking clients.

According to court records, Brandenburg began in June 2004 submitting bogus invoices to Prime for hauls never made.

He agreed as part of his plea deal that he cost Prime at least $1 million in losses before the scheme was discovered and hid from the IRS income of nearly $1 million.

Phillips set a July 13 sentencing hearing.