A former vice president at Polar Air Cargo pleaded guilty last week to participating in a scheme to defraud the company of $52 million for more than a decade. Six of nine individuals charged in the plot have presented guilty pleas so far.

Polar Air Cargo is a joint venture between privately held Atlas Air Worldwide and DHL Express. According to aircraft database Planespotters.net, the airline has a fleet of 15 large Boeing cargo jets: six 747-8s, two 767-300s and seven 777s.

Carlton Llewellyn, 55, who was in charge of operations systems performance and quality, pleaded guilty last week to one count of wire fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, federal prosecutors announced. The count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He also agreed to forfeit $348,000 and repay Polar nearly $306,000.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 7.

Llewellyn and three other executives were charged with accepting kickbacks from a small group of customers and vendors in exchange for favorable contracts, priority cargo loading, favorable shipping rates and enrollment in incentive programs.

The Polar executives also allegedly concealed ownership positions in certain service providers and received ownership distributions based, in large part, on revenue derived from contracts with Polar — contracts that had been secured and, often, renewed largely due to the recommendations of the executives.

Co-conspirator Robert Schirmer, senior director of customer service for the Americas at Polar, pleaded guilty in October and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 13. As part of the deal, Schirmer agreed to forfeit more than $938,000 in stolen gains and repay Polar $9.3 million.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Eric Kulisch.

Contact reporter: ekulisch@freightwaves.com 


Former Polar Air Cargo executive pleads guilty to swindling employer

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