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Fraud charges dropped against 2 former Celadon executives

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Federal fraud charges have been dropped against two former executives at an Indianapolis-based trucking and transportation company that filed for bankruptcy days after the charges were filed in 2019.

In a court filing last month, the U.S. Department of Justice asked a federal judge to throw out all nine charges against former Celadon Group Inc. Chief Operating Officer William Eric Meek and Chief Financial Officer Bobby Peavler, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The judge agreed to dismiss the charges with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled.

Prosecutors did not explicitly say why they dismissed the case against the two former Celadon executives. But attorneys representing both men told The Star they interpret the dismissal as the government recognizing their innocence in the matter.

“We both felt very strongly about our clients’ innocence,” said Jonathan A. Bont, an Paganelli Law Group attorney representing Meek.

Days before Celadon filed for bankruptcy in December 2019, Meek and Peavler were arrested and charged in a nine-count indictment that alleged conspiracy to commit wire, bank and security fraud, among other charges. Celadon also abruptly ceased operations, The Star reported.

Prosecutors had argued that Meek and Peavle's alleged role in a fraud scheme cost Celadon shareholders more than $60 million.

Earlier in 2019, Celadon agreed to pay $42.2 million in restitution to settle securities fraud charges stemming from falsely reporting inflated profits and assets to investors.