A federal judge said he needs more time to decide the fate of the embattled former CEO of Arrow Trucking.
James Douglas "Doug" Pielsticker pleaded guilty to tax fraud and bank fraud in February and his sentencing hearing was Thursday.
He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $50 million in fines. Prosecutors originally charged him with 23 counts including fraud and tax evasion, but in a plea bargain he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit bank fraud, as well as one count of tax evasion.
Judge Gregory Frizzell said the case was too complex and nuanced to make a decision Thursday and he wants to take some time to review all the facts.
The court heard from one witness, Jonathan Moore, the former CFO of Arrow Trucking, who also took part in the financial scheme.
The question now, is, how much of the crime was Moore’s idea, and how much was Pielsticker's?
Prosecutors were harsh in their sentencing memorandum against Pielsticker, calling his case the largest tax fraud case and one of the largest bank fraud schemes in this district's recent history.
Few have stolen so much so quickly, they wrote.
They claim Pielsticker's lavish spending habits helped contribute to the downfall of Arrow Trucking and his desire to take part in the bank fraud scheme.
Prosecutors said, in 2009 he spent $1.3 million of Arrow's money for personal expenses - $250,000 worth of shoes and $70,000 for a portrait session of his second wife, $8,000 every month at the country club, along with owning luxury cars and taking private jet trips.
Meanwhile, Arrow Trucking was struggling daily to pay for truck fuel and employee paychecks.
Arrow Trucking closed suddenly on Christmas Eve 2009, stranding drivers across the country. Prosecutors said Pielsticker and his co-conspirator failed to pay the federal income taxes withheld from Arrow's employees in 2009.
Under the plea agreement, Pielsticker admitted he had Arrow Trucking spend thousands of dollars on his various personal expenses, including payments for his wedding and on Bentley and Maserati cars and then didn't pay income tax on that money.
Moore pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors in December, 2014. He's scheduled to be sentenced on October 16, 2015.
Thursday, he testified against Pielsticker as part of his plea deal, in exchange for a more lenient sentence.
Moore claims the scheme was all Pielsticker's idea, that he was the brains behind the operation. But defense attorneys challenged that claim aggressively, pointing out several inconsistencies in Moore's testimony.
Pielsticker’s attorney, Paul DeMuro said, "I think his testimony spoke for itself, but we're just grateful the Court's taking its time to consider this matter."
The question now before the judge is, did Pielsticker know about the scheme when it started? Or was it actually Moore's idea, and he's throwing Pielsticker under the bus?
"It's a difficult decision, so we're gonna suit up and show up and see what happens tomorrow," DeMuro said.
That sentencing hearing continues Friday at 2:30.
Federal prosecutors won’t comment until Pielsticker is sentenced. They are recommending Pielsticker get six-and-a-half to eight years in prison.