MOUNT CRAWFORD, Va. (WHSV) - UPDATE (Apr. 13):
After a grand jury indicted Beam Brothers Trucking on over 120 counts of alleged wrongdoing in March, the Mount Crawford company is handing its trucking contracts over to Eagle Express Lines.
According to court documents, the business — which had been transporting mail for the United States Postal Service for at least the last ten years — may have falsely recorded times when drivers were on the job, among other allegations.
Beam Brothers has insisted throughout investigation that these allegations were false, but says "the mere filing of the federal indictment and the uncertainty that has accompanied it has made it impossible for us to continue our operations."
Eagle Express will take over all trucking operations at the company at the start of May. According to Beam Brothers' website, all current Beam Brothers employees will become Eagle Express Line employees at that time, with health insurance carried over and all pay and accrued vacation with Beam brothers paid out on their final check from the company on May 12.
Here is the statement issued by Mark Obenshain, counsel for Geral Beam, on behalf of Beam Brothers Trucking, Inc. which explains what is happening:
It is with a sense of great sadness Beam Brothers announces it has entered into an agreement with Eagle Express Lines for it to take over our trucking contracts. The mere filing of the federal indictment and the uncertainty that has accompanied it has made it impossible for us to continue our operations. We have never wavered in our commitment to our customers and to our employees and we have tirelessly worked over the difficult past few weeks to find the best possible solution to these challenges.
It is heartbreaking that this turn of events would occur just because the federal government has made unproven accusations. While we believe the charges are entirely without merit and we are aggressively defending the case, it is hard for us to be forced out of a business which grew from a family owned small hay hauler into one of the largest mail carriers in the country. It is even worse to see the anxiety of our employees who have been fearful for their jobs before we even have had our day in court.
Today, Beam Brothers signed with Eagle Express Lines to allow Eagle to take over trucking operations subject to final due diligence to be completed within the next few days. Our goal in entering this agreement is simple, to keep the mail moving and protect all of our employees and their families. That this agreement accomplishes both goals gives us great peace and comfort.
When it was announced that Beam Brothers and its principals had been charged, we said that there were “two things that had not and will not change – Beam Brothers remains committed to providing safe and reliable service to its customers and it remains committed to its almost 600 employees and their families.” It is this continuing commitment that led us to enter the agreement.
Beam Brothers is a family business in every sense of the word. We are immensely grateful for every single one of our employees and for their friendship, commitment and service over the years. We are grateful to the United States Postal Service for the opportunity we were given to deliver the mail. And we are grateful to Wayne Hoovestol and Eagle Express for stepping in to help in this hour of need.
ORIGINAL STORY (Mar. 20):
After years of investigation, Beam Brothers Trucking and people affiliated with the company were indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday, March 16, on more than 120 counts of alleged wrongdoing.
According to the indictment, the Mount Crawford company is accused of letting employees violate safety regulations and falsely recording when drivers were on or off duty.
Included in the court document are dozens of alleged instances when driver's time on the job was recorded incorrectly.
In addition, the indictment accuses the company and its owners, Gerald and Garland Beam, of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, citing several email exchanges.
Also listed as defendants are Shaun Beam, the former operations manager, and Nickolas Kozel, the former chief financial officer.
In a letter from the company's legal council sent out on Thursday, Beam Brothers asserted the allegations were false.
"The charges are entirely without merit and illustrate government overreaching at its worst," the letter said. "We are deeply disappointed that after almost seven years of investigation and extensive cooperation by Beam Brothers, the government has chosen to indict the company and its principals."
The indictment estimates the United States Postal Service paid Beam Brothers more than half a billion dollars over the past ten years to transport mail.
"As a mail carrier, the U.S. Postal Service has repeatedly recognized Beam Brothers' exemplary performance and incredible safety records," the letter argues. "Beam Brothers have one of the best safety records in the industry."
An arraignment hearing for the case is set for Thursday, March 30 at 10 a.m.