A federal judge sentenced two men from Ashland, Ky., today for conspiring to commit money laundering, by stripping stolen motorcycles of their original identifying marks, rebuilding and retitling them for innocent buyers.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove sentenced Richard Meade, 67, to two years in prison and Mark Justice, 55, to 18 months in prison, for conspiracy to commit money laundering by illegally transferring the ownership of motorcycles, aiding and abetting money laundering, and aiding and abetting possession of a vehicle and vehicle parts with altered vehicle identification numbers (VIN). At a later date, the Court will determine a restitution amount to compensate the original owners and insurance companies.
Both defendants were convicted in 2013. Evidence established that motorcycles had been stolen at motorcycle rallies in South Carolina, South Dakota and Florida, by a group of thieves who brought them back to Kentucky to strip them and rebuild them. They removed parts of the stolen motorcycles and replaced them with aftermarket parts bearing different VIN numbers, to conceal that they had been stolen. The stolen motorcycles were registered in Kentucky, with new VIN numbers. In 2006 and 2007, Meade and Justice took some of the newly registered motorcycles, sold them and helped provide fraudulent documents for the retitling process.
Six other defendants previously pleaded guilty and have been sentenced for their roles in the case.
The FBI and Kentucky State Police identified nearly 200 victims in this case, which include the original motorcycle owners and insurance companies.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Howard S. Marshall, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, and Rodney Brewer, Kentucky State Police Commissioner jointly announced the sentence.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI, Kentucky State Police, the Boyd County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Bureau of Investigations, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and Ohio State Patrol. Assistant United States Attorneys Kenneth R. Taylor and Erin Roth prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government.