More than 2,000 commercial-vehicle licenses may be invalidated after the owner and manager of a Florida trucking school reportedly were arrested Thursday, June 8 on nine felony charges. The Orange County school potentially has put thousands of truck drivers on the road with little or no training, Florida Highway Patrol officials told the Orlando Sentinel.
C&L Solutions President Victor M. Cosme-Burgos, 59, of Orlando, and manager Robson L. Coco, 43, of Winter Park, are charged with defrauding students who sought licenses required to drive trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles. According to the Sentinel, a state auditor became suspicious when he found during a biannual review that the trucking school had not failed any students in about 18 months of driving tests; he tipped off the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, said Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Jorge Delahoz.
Though the school had failed few students in the past, this was the first year that everyone passed; most driving schools statewide fail about 20 percent of their applicants, Delahoz told the Sentinel. DMV officials began keeping track of the school and eventually contacted the Highway Patrol, which sent undercover agents to pose as students over several weeks; one agent received a certification for any kind of truck or bus in a 90-minute road test that consisted of driving to a gas station, pumping $100 worth of gas and driving back to the school, Delahoz said. “They were basically rubber-stamping everyone,” Delahoz told the Sentinel.
About a dozen troopers arrived at the school to arrest the two men and seize three tractor-trailers, a truck and a bus used for road tests; troopers also confiscated some computers and filing cabinets from the office, the Sentinel reported. The men reportedly were being held at Orange County Jail on $4,500 bail each on charges including falsifying records, violating the Florida Communications Fraud Act, unlawful compensation and forgery.
The driving school, which offered training in Spanish, is now shut down permanently, and officials will begin notifying students within 60 days about steps to maintain their commercial-vehicle licenses, Delahoz told the Sentinel. Delahoz said he did not know where any of the more than 2,000 license-holders certified by the school were employed because they are not required to report such information.