Safety director, drivers sentenced in logbook scheme

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Five defendants recently were sentenced after pleading guilty for false statements and aiding and abetting related to a false driver’s logbook scheme, the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s Office announced.

Sukhwinder Singh, Tarsem Singh Pahal, Bhinder Singh Raju, Daljit Singh and Jaspreet Singh were sentenced July 21 in U.S. District Court in Fresno, Calif., for keeping false driver’s logbooks while employed as truck drivers for Nijjar Brothers Trucking of Madera, Calif., DOT-OIG says.

Sukhwinder Singh, the company’s safety director, was sentenced to six months’ home detention and 24 months’ probation, according to DOT-OIG; the remaining defendants were sentenced to three months’ confinement, three months’ home detention and 24 months’ probation. In addition, all defendants were ordered not to work in the trucking industry unless approved by the probation office.

During the DOT-OIG investigation, a driver for Nijjar Brothers Trucking caused a four-vehicle collision, killing a father and his 13-year-old son and seriously injuring six others. The driver, Baljinder Singh, had been driving for at least 19 hours, according to DOT-OIG; he subsequently was convicted and sentenced for falsifying his logbook entries and served time in jail. As a part of a sentencing agreement, the owners of the trucking company were required to inactivate their DOT numbers, dissolve the company and each pay a fine of $50,000.

The DOT-OIG investigation was conducted with assistance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and California Highway Patrol.