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Industry crime roundup: Bond fraud, illegal hazmat transport, falsified logbooks

In recent weeks, several federal courts have taken legal action against carriers or other companies for various crimes. Here’s a roundup of what’s come across the wire:

Chameleon carrier convicted after violating imminent hazard out of service order

A Georgia man has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to violate a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-issued imminent hazard out-of-service order by forming another carrier.

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Corey Daniels pled guilty Jan. 31 to the charges after FMCSA discovered he and Devasko Lewis formed Eagle Transport under Daniel’s identity in order to circumvent an imminent hazard out-of-service order issued to Lewis and his Lewis Trucking Company in 2008. The two owned and operated Eagle Transport.

Lewis’ former company was ordered to shut down in October 2008 after FMCSA said it discovered “serious violations” during a compliance review prompted by a crash that killed seven people in Alabama.

-Staff

Florida company sentenced for illegal hazmat transport

A federal court has fined a Florida company $750,000 and sentenced it to 24 months probation for illegally transporting hazardous materials. Coastal Shipping Holding, Inc., previously known as G&G Marine, was sentenced in West Palm Beach’s U.S. district court Jan. 27, according to the federal transportation department’s inspector general. The shipping company had pleaded guilty in September to transporting hazardous materials, failure of a hazardous materials employer to train its employees and recklessly loading and stowing explosives on a vessel.

Federal investigators stated Coastal employees had illegally transported a shipment of explosives in a commercial truck from their warehouse area to a dockside facility. They then placed the shipment alongside other hazardous material on a commercial vessel docked at Port Everglades that was bound for the Bahamas.

-Jill Dunn

Broker bond company indicted over alleged carrier trust fund fraud

A California bond company owner has been indicted on charges of defrauding brokers in a trust fund scheme, in which she allegedly would accept money from property brokers’ to be used for trust funds and instead used the money for other purposes.

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The Transportation Intermediaries Association, a trade group for brokers, filed a request with the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General, leading to an inspection of Bonnie Warren, owner of Oasis Capital in Fullerton, Calif. She was indicted by a Los Angeles federal grand jury Jan. 24.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also has suspended her privileges to file trust funds on behalf of brokers and revoked roughly 500 trust funds filed with FMCSA.

-Jill Dunn

Carrier fined $75,000 for falsifying logbooks after guilty pleas

A Connecticut-based passenger carrier has been fined $75,000 after a federal investigation led by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that it routinely told its drivers to falsify logbooks in order to drive over federally permitted on-duty time. Wisla Express, based in New Britain, Conn., was also sentenced to 5 years of probation and its form owner, Elzbieta Szteborowski, and former manager, Dariusz Steborowski, were ordered to divest themselves from ownership. Also, Dariusz is not allowed to work for the carrier during the probation period.

FMCSA found in an investigation that the carrier routinely assigned drivers runs they knew would exceed hours-of-service limits and instructed drivers to falsify logbooks to cover up the violations. The carrier also submitted the false logs to FMCSA during its investigation.

Dariusz has entered a guilty plea.

-Staff

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