The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General recently announced court activity in three trucking-related crime investigations. Here’s a summary of what happened with each:
Five found guilty in connection with New York CDL testing scheme
On July 17, a federal jury found five people guilty in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y. related to cheating on Commercial Driver’s License tests.
On Oct. 24, 2013, Joachim Pierre, Luc Desmangles, Tanael Daniel, Dale Harper and Beayaeh Kamara, along with six others, were charged with conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud and unlawful production of identification documents in connection with a widespread fraudulent CDL test-taking scheme.
The investigation revealed the fraudulent test-taking had taken place at five New York State Department of Motor Vehicle test centers around the New York City area.
Surveillance operations, including use of remote observation posts and pole-cams, identified these individuals participating in the fraud scheme.
Conspiring CDL applicants paid facilitators between $1,800 and $2,500 in return for CDL exam answers and escort service through the DMV process. The scheme included the use of pencils with encoded miniaturized test answers, a Bluetooth headset as a communication device, and an external test-taker to take the exams.
Each person found guilty faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
This investigation was conducted by the DOT with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security, New York Police Department, NYC DMV Investigations, NYS-Attorney General’s Office and NYS-OIG.
FMCSA-registered drug collection company owner agrees to pre-trial diversion
On July 21, Andy Garr, owner of Compliance Services of East Texas, an FMCSA-register drug collection company, agreed to pre-trial diversion in U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas, for submitting false documents to FMCSA.
Garr agreed to perform 40 hours of community service and pay restitution in the amount of $2,790 to Panola College in Carthage, Texas.
Garr collected numerous drug testing samples from Rapid CDL, a truck driving school affiliated with Panola College, according to a DOT OIG report. He said he would send them to a lab for testing and to a medical provider for review prior to returning the results to the school, the OIG says.
The OIG investigation revealed Garr never sent the samples to be tested, and instead, forged the results using the letter head from the lab and falsified the doctor’s signature. An investigation by FMCSA revealed the scheme.
Nebraska driver pleads guilty to making threats to FMCSA safety inspector
On July 21, Ronald Mockelman pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Lincoln, Neb., to intimidating an FMCSA employee.
According to an OIG report, Mockelmen was previously charged with making a threat to a federal employee. Mockelmen, a commercial truck driver, allegedly made several threatening phone calls to FMCSA’s Nebraska Division offices.
The calls threatened bodily injury in retaliation for FMCSA issuing Mockelmen a fine for failing to adhere to motor carrier safety regulations, according to the OIG.
Mockelmen also allegedly made several threatening phone calls to the FMCSA Midwestern Service Center in Illinois the same day.