This week’s round-up of this and that from the wide world of trucking focuses strictly on some bad guys, brought to our attention with an in-box full of updates for the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General.
Good news, bad news: On May 15, the U.S. District Court, Albany, GA, granted a motion filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office to dismiss the indictment charging a trucker with conspiracy to criminally violate an Imminent Hazard Out-of-Service Order issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, the dismissal of the federal case was based upon the sentencing of the man on April 17 to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of a relative of a federal witness.
It was alleged the trucker conspired to kill a co-defendant in a federal investigation of conspiracy to violate the FMCSA Imminent Hazard Order. The witness had agreed to cooperate in the federal case and shortly after he agreed to cooperate, an attempt was made on his life.
In a case of mistaken identity, the witness’s nephew was killed instead.
DOT Houston County, GA, authorities in their murder prosecution.
Double broker busted. On May 4, 2015, a trucking company owner was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Chicago, to 36 months incarceration, 36 months supervised release, and was ordered to pay $532,000 restitution in connection with an illegal double-brokering scheme. He had pleaded guilty in December to wire fraud in connection with the scheme.
The man admitted that he and other individuals were involved in a fraudulent double brokering scheme, where they falsely represented that the company would use its own trucks to transport freight, knowing that it had no trucks.
He provided information about the freight loads to a co-conspirator broker knowing that the broker would find other companies to transport and deliver the freight. The man and the co-conspirator agreed that the false trucking company would bill the customers as if they had kept and performed the jobs, knowing that in many instances, they would not pay the companies that actually did the work. The loss to the companies that actually delivered the freight is approximately $532,000.
DOT conducted this investigation with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Water doesn’t burn: A Montana trucker has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to the illegal transportation of hazardous materials without placards. He was indicted last October.
According to the investigation by the Department of Transportation investigation with the Environmental Protection Agency, on Dec. 29, 2012, the driver loaded natural gas condensate, or "drip gas," from a pipeline station that transports products from the Bakken oil fields in Montana and North Dakota.
The bill of lading that accompanied the shipment identified the product as "slop oil and water," which is a non-hazardous substance. However, while he was pumping from the truck’s front tank into the processing facility, a fire ignited, injuring three employees. The tanks on the truck burned for eight days until the local fire department could determine that they held drip gas and not slop oil and water, as indicated on the bill of lading. Drip gas is a hazardous material and the truck was not placarded to indicate it held a flammable liquid.
Do not pass GO: On May 13, the owners of a New York CDL school were sentenced in U.S. District Court, Brooklyn, New York, for their role in a fraud scheme related to commercial driver's license testing. The court ordered them to forfeit cash and assets totaling more than $175,000 and sentenced them to 100 hours of community service. In January they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully produce identification documents.
The investigation determined that between 2001 and 2012, the school cheated approximately 500 customers through the written New York Department of Motor Vehicles (NYDMV) CDL examination by nefariously providing the answers to their clients. The scheme used a covert camera and pager system to feed the answers. The investigation also revealed that many of the driving school's customers did not speak or write in English.
DOT worked this investigation with the Department of Homeland Security.