The owner of a Philadelphia-based trucking company reported pleaded guilty to federal racketeering and identification fraud charges in connection with providing Brazilian nationals living here illegally with documents needed to get driver’s licenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Jose P. Silva, 41, owner of Real Transportation Inc., was arrested in June and charged with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal law originally intended to crack down on Mafia crime, the Courier-Post reported Monday, Oct. 1.
According to the newspaper, 10 truck drivers — Eduardo S. Santos, 40, Gilson S. De Oliveira, 37, Franco Gomes, 36, Mauricio L. Moreira, 31, Adriano R. Silva, 28, Sinval A. De Mendonca, 23, Rogerio F. Vieira, 22, Aroldo Dias-DeFreitas, 37, Wagner Silvestre, 34, and Walter Fernandes-Costa, 21 — pleaded guilty to federal identification fraud charges following their arrests in Philadelphia and Maple Shade in June.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office claims the truckers were living in the country illegally and fraudulently obtained Pennsylvania commercial driver’s licenses in the names of U.S. citizens. Silva is accused of assisting many of the drivers to obtain the false CDLs and then hiring them as truck drivers to haul construction debris from the Philadelphia area to various commercial landfills, according to the Courier-Post.
The drivers each admitted to having purchased a birth certificate and a Social Security card that bore the name and true identifying information of a U.S. citizen, the newspaper reported; all of the drivers admitted to living in the country without lawful status.