As U.S. truckers continue their cross-country journey, dubbed the People’s Convoy, to Washington to protest government mandates regarding COVID-19, an executive with the American Foundation for Civil Liberties and Freedoms (AFCLF), an organization that is collecting funds on the truckers’ behalf, has a criminal past in Texas.
On its website, the AFCLF, a conservative fundraising organization, has raised over $1.6 million for the People’s Convoy.
Pamela Milacek, executive director of the AFCLF, has active warrants out for her arrest for probation violations related to her pleading guilty in two cases involving fraud and exploitation of an elderly person, Matthew Hawkins, the criminal deputy district clerk for Collin County District Clerk’s Office, told FreightWaves on Friday.
“Just to note though, since she received deferred adjudication, she has not actually been convicted at this time,” Hawkins said.
In Texas, deferred adjudication is a special form of judge-ordered probation that permits a defendant to accept responsibility for a crime without an actual conviction being placed on his or her record.
In one case, Milacek pleaded guilty to using a victim’s Social Security number, name and driver’s license number to apply for a PayPal credit card. In a second instance, she pleaded guilty to exploiting an elderly person by illegally or improperly withdrawing funds amounting to nearly $15,000 without the victim’s consent in Collin County, Texas, in September 2020.
According to court documents, Judge Webb Biard placed Milacek on deferred adjudication relating to both cases. However, the judge authorized the warrants in October after she failed to pay court costs, report to her probation officer or participate and complete an anti-theft program within nine months after the plea agreements were reached.
She has been on the lam since.
Milacek told FreightWaves she handles the “back end of the convoy” and disperses funds to the truckers based on the People’s Convoy organizers’ needs.
“They [truckers] tell us what they need [funds] for, whether it’s expenses or fuel or for security,” Milacek said. “The organizers send that information over here with the invoice and then we take care of making sure that if it’s an individual vendor they get paid for it, or if it’s reimbursement for expenses that the truckers have directly, then we’ll reimburse them. They are in charge of kind of directing how that works. We are just handling it on the back end.”
She did not want to discuss her criminal past.
“I thought you wanted to talk about the donations,” Milacek told FreightWaves.
Since FreightWaves spoke with Milacek, along with the organization’s founder, Christopher Marston, late Thursday, the group that is bankrolling the People’s Convoy is asking that checks be sent to Marston’s home address in Topanga, California, instead of its P.O. box at the Mail Chute in Tulsa.
Prior to the convoy’s launch nearly 11 days ago, organizers reversed their initial plan not to take donations. Marston and one of the People’s Convoy organizers Marcus Summers told FreightWaves they don’t have a plan yet on how the $1.6 million in funds collected will be dispersed to participants.
Marston, who is the CEO of a six office law firm, headquartered in Massachusetts, compared handling the convoy’s funds to “expense whack-a-mole” and said there’s “no policy handbook set up” for how the money will be shared among the truckers.
“We’ve pulled a lot of resources to get fuel donated, also got a ton of cash donations, which were used to help pay for fuel on the spot,” Marston told FreightWaves. “Now we’re getting to the point where it needs to be done by wire [transfer] from funds. We have full transparency and a ledger is updated and truckers are on the finance committee and can see what the expenses are needed and the reimbursements on the ground.”
He said the truckers’ fight isn’t over once they reach the D.C. Beltway.
“These truckers are not on the road just to do a rah-rah convoy,” Marston told FreightWaves. “They’re on the road to get real action and demand accountability from our government.”
Truckers are set to arrive in Hagerstown, Maryland, Friday night, but one of the People’s Convoy organizers says the group’s efforts aren’t over once the convoy arrives.
“I’m not in a position to talk about any of that just yet,” Summers, a 34-year trucking veteran from Millersburg, Ohio, told FreightWaves. “We just have to see how this all will end. So hopefully we’ll get our demands met. And I mean, that’s what we’re expected to do. We’re prepared to sit tight till our demands are met — hold the line till our demands are met.”
This is a developing story.