Trucking firm and its president fined $325,000 for HOS, log violations
A South Dakota trucking company and its president found out that forcing a driver to falsify a logbook and trying to cover-up HOS violations can lead to stiff fines and probation.
Action Carrier Inc. and its president, Michael L. Walsh, were ordered to pay more than $325,000 in fines and restitution. The president and company pleaded guilty to the felonies of falsifying logbooks and covering up hours-of-service violations.
A U.S. District Court judge in Sioux Falls ordered Action Carrier to pay fines of $200,000. Walsh was ordered to pay $126,488 in restitution and fined $2,000. Both Action Carrier and Walsh were sentenced to five years probation, with the first six months of Walsh's probation designated as home confinement.
If company representatives are found violating the law in any way, company officials face returning to court and the possibility of further penalties, according to a spokesman with the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General.
Representatives of the company admitted in court to causing a truck driver to falsify logbook entries in order to conceal violations of HOS regulations.
Walsh also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice for refusing to allow an inspector with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to take possession of a file during a compliance review inspection.
Owner, drivers busted in logbook forgery scheme
It's a tale that seemed ready-made for Halloween, involving a Wolf, a Mummy and a frightening case of logbook falsification.
Ronald Wolf, the former owner of RBL Enterprises Inc. in Port Treverton, PA, was indicted in October by a grand jury on charges of conspiring to falsify drivers' logs, destroying documents containing correct information and dispatching truckers on trips he knew exceeded their hours-of-service limits.
Kenneth Heneisen, a driver for the company, was also indicted.
In September, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General reported that Matthew Mummy, another RBL Enterprises driver, was sentenced to one year of probation for his involvement in the case. Mummy admitted that he concealed his knowledge of the activities of Wolf and other RBL employees.
Mummy himself falsified his logbook about 14 times between February and March of 2004 to hide the excessive hours he had driven.
And on Sept. 14, three other drivers from RBL - Ryan Flick, Albert Crouch and Dennis Gemberling - pleaded guilty to one count each of logbook falsification. The three admitted to falsifying their logbooks on 25, 42 and 150 occasions, respectively.