Sept. 22, 2006 – Federal officials said 15 people have been indicted on felony charges in connection with a fraudulent CDL operation in Missouri that handed out licenses to at least 70 Somalis and Bosnians with little or no real testing.
And, investigators said, many of the licenses included hazmat endorsements.
At a press conference Thursday, Sept. 21, at FBI offices in Kansas City, MO, U.S. Attorney Bradley Schlozman said there were three alleged principals – Dean Profitt, a superintendent for a third-party testing center in West Plains, MO; his assistant, Orbin May; and Ernest White, a Kansas City resident also known as “Mustafa.”
Schlozman said White operated the Muslim Brothers and Sisters truck driving training school in Kansas City, where he would supply the answers to the written CDL test to students – many of whom spoke no English.
Then, Schlozman said, White would take the students to the South Central Career Center in West Plains, where Profitt and May would supposedly administer the driving part of the test.
“May – again, in return for an additional payment of money far in excess of the state license fee – would then pass these persons on the competency portion of the CDL test, despite the fact that most of the students either never took the exam at all, took only a highly abbreviated portion of that two-hour exam … or had someone else simulate taking the exam for them,” Schlozman said.
Quite often, Schlozman said, students who would need a helper or translator, only had to demonstrate they could drive forward, backward or use a turn signal.
Schlozman said, in some cases, the students didn’t even go to West Plains – they were simply given paperwork showing they’d passed the driving part of the test.
The students paid between $800 and $2,000 for their CDLs.
Of the 15 people who were indicted, 12 are presently in jail.
The driver training school in West Plains has been shut down. Missouri also passed a law in June prohibiting third-party testing.
The state has notified the students that their licenses are invalid and has ordered more than 200 individuals who attended the school to be re-tested.
At the press conference, Schlozman emphasized that the investigation found no evidence that any of the students had ties to terrorist activity.
– By Reed Black, staff writer