Man charged with $2.1 million fraud of Sea Star, Trailer Bridge

Man charged with $2.1 million fraud of Sea Star, Trailer Bridge

A former employee of U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico carriers Sea Star Line and Trailer Bridge has been charged with defrauding the companies of $2.1 million by submitting phony invoices for container and equipment decals and inspection and transportation of containers and equipment.

Andrew A. Rooks, of Jacksonville, Florida, was charged in a federal indictment with two separate conspiracies to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and 10 counts of wire fraud. The government also is seeking a money judgment of $2.1 million.

He was arrested and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville.

Rooks worked for Sea Star in its Jacksonville office from 2001 until July 2011, and last served as assistant vice president of operations.

The indictment alleges that beginning in November 2005, he authorized the payment of phony invoices for container and equipment decals and inspection and transportation of containers and equipment.

The invoices were submitted on behalf of Keith Beavers, and to two companies controlled by Russell Cody, the indictment charged. Beavers and Cody allegedly kicked back 40 to 60 percent of the amounts of the fraudulent invoices to Rooks and a company that Rooks controlled.

The indictment alleges that after Rooks was terminated by Sea Star, he got a job with Trailer Bridge, a competitor of Sea Star in the U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico trade, and continued the conspiracies, costing Trailer Bridge $107,000 in fraudulent invoice payments.

Beavers and Cody previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracies, and are scheduled to be sentenced in July.

Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @JosephBonney.