WACO (June 10, 2014) Ronald “Ronnie” L. Kroll, 49, the former president of Waco’s Lochridge-Priest, Inc., has been arrested in connection with the theft of more than $200,000 in an alleged scheme to lease the company equipment it already owned.
Kroll was free on $20,000 bond Monday after he was arrested Friday on a warrant charging theft of more than $200,000 stemming from a Texas Rangers investigation that started on May 21, an arrest warrant affidavit says.
The scheme involved a separate company that Kroll owns, Bradee K Builders, and the rental of trench boxes, the affidavit said.
The boxes are used to protect workers from cave-ins in trenches for pipes or conduits.
Lochridge-Priest CEO and owner B.J. Akins and Executive Vice President David Akins told Texas Rangers Investigator James Burson, Jr., that the company authorized paying Bradee K Builders about $100,000 a year to cover the costs of equipment rentals as the companies “were conducting business on various projects together.”
But David Akins told Burson that after discovering a “dramatic increase in annual expenditures” to Kroll’s firm, he determined that Lochridge-Priest was paying Bradee K for the rental of the trench boxes that Lochridge-Priest owned, the affidavit said.
Lochridge-Priest purchased the trench boxes in May 2012 from National Trench Safety, LLC, but Kroll’s company charged Lochridge-Priest more than $9,000 a month for rental of the boxes from June 2012 through March 2014, the affidavit said.
On March 12, shortly after Akins discovered that Lochridge-Priest was paying rental fees for its own equipment, “Kroll contacted David Akins via text message and state that he (Kroll) had ‘messed up’ and needed to talk to David Akins,” the affidavit said.
On the same day “Kroll then wrote a check from Bradee K Builders, Inc., to (Lochridge-Priest) for $78,776.94 for the purchase of trench boxes...” the affidavit said.