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Businessman pleads guilty to fraud

The owner of a now-defunct Palm Harbor trucking company pleaded guilty in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court last week to worker's compensation fraud and was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

Robert Stansell, 63, of Maggie Valley, N.C., was the owner of Stansell Trucking Co., which was known for its company slogan, "Truckin' for Jesus," and its corporate philosophy of hauling anything but alcohol or cigarettes.

The fraud charge stemmed from a complaint by a former employee of Stansell Trucking Co. who was injured in an accident while driving a Stansell truck in May 1998. An investigation determined that the company had no worker's compensation insurance at the time of the accident.

H.L. Stansell Inc., which was doing business as Stansell Trucking Co., filed for protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code in December of 1999.