State of Fraud: Regulations Meet New Methods of Scamming
In spite of al the new rules and regulations implemented across the trucking industry over the last several years, there are still a large number of veteran carriers and brokers who remember when trucking industry rules and regulations were minimal.
Myriad changes, mostly in the form of new regulations, have added new layers of complexity and made the industry significantly more challenging. These changes have also created new opportunities for industry professionals and the many different industry service providers.
Here at Truckstop.com, our security department has received increased email volumes containing detailed information on fraudulent activities being executed by a number of different scam artists. Scammers are operating more creatively than ever and are anxiously taking advantage of any opportunity to make a buck.
Scammers are operating more creatively than ever and are anxiously taking advantage of any opportunity to make a buck.
In December of last year, Thomas Lindsey was sentenced for false statements in connection with third-party CDL testing. Lindsey was approved by the State of South Carolina as a third-party tester, solely for the administration of CDL testing to employees of the North Spartanburg Fire Department. He administered CDL tests to drivers who were not employed by the NSFD. Additionally, he did not require all drivers to perform vehicle pre-trip inspections, basic controls or road tests, and he conducted required testing in unapproved locations. Lindsey collected fees from individuals he administered the unauthorized CDL tests to; he then instructed drivers to deliver the fraudulently prepared skills test forms to multiple South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles licensing facilities.
A few months later in April we saw the final sentencing of the 11 defendants and their roles in a widespread fraudulent CDL test-taking scheme. The investigation had uncovered a fraudulent CDL test-taking activity being conducted at five Department of Motor Vehicles test centers in the New York City area involving DMV security personnel. CDL applicants paid the defendants between $1,800 and $2,500 for CDL test answers and escort assistance through the DMV process. Truckstop.com’s security department posted updates on our website regarding this scheme dating back to 2013 and up to the sentencing in 2016.
On July 21, 2016, Andy Garr, owner of Compliance Services of East Texas, an FMCSA registered drug collection company, agreed to pre-trial diversion in U.S. District Court, Tyler, Texas, for submitting false statements to FMCSA. Garr agreed to perform 40 hours of community service and pay restitution in the amount of $2,790.
About a month later, a Texas man was sentenced for falsifying a DOT medical form and medical card.
In October of 2016, the investigation culminated in the indictments of four people that included guilty pleas and sentencing. The Florida based company Larex marketed itself toward speakers of the Russian language and charged students between $1,800 and $5,000 for services in obtaining a Florida CDL. The company helped students cheat on the CDL written exam by utilizing covert communications to supply answers to the students while they were taking the tests. They also knowingly provided false certifications and other documents to students to satisfy Florida CDL residency requirements.
Then in December, a DOT designated medical examiner in Atlanta, Georgia, was arrested and charged with allegedly falsifying medical examinations for people seeking a CDL. At this time the case is still ongoing.
To protect yourself against these type of scammers, make sure your medical examiner—or those performing any other requirements to keep your authority active—are valid, certified, and authorized service providers. FMCSA has a national registry for locating a certified medical examiner. This site also provides a way to find certified training and testing organizations.
Finally, always read through the reviews of these organizations or individuals and take a little extra time to vet those you work with. In the end, it’s the right (and legal) thing to do.
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