A trucking company in Virginia and four of its executives were indicted in a U.S. District Court on March 16 on 126 counts including more than 50 counts each of false statements and falsifying records. The trucking company was hired by the United States Postal Service to transport mail for more than half a billion dollars over the past 10 years.
Since 1999, Gerald Beam, Garland Beam, Shaun Beam and Nickolas Kozel of Beam Bros. Trucking either encouraged or required employees to violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, including hours-of-service regs, according to federal court documents. This was done by planning trips that could not be completed within HOS regs and encouraging drivers to falsify records of duty status.
Additionally, Beam Bros. Trucking did not pay drivers for “on-duty” time as required by the Service Contract Act (SCA). SCA requires subcontractors hired by the U.S. government to pay employees for each hour or portion of an hour worked at a rate no less than minimum wage. According to SCA regulations, this includes waiting time. Only periods of time when an employee is “completely relieved of duty and long enough for him or her to effectively use that time for their own purposes” are considered “off-duty” when working under SCA.
According to court documents, drivers for Beam Bros. Trucking may not have been aware of the SCA pay plan. Drivers were told they would not be paid for short rest periods, waiting for loads, etc. An indictment claims drivers were not informed of SCA pay requirements. Beam Bros. Trucking prevented drivers who were aware of SCA from sharing that information with fellow drivers and government agencies.
Since the egregious cover-up of driver pay and violations of FMCSA regulations was done under a government contract, Beam Brothers was charged with Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States, among the many other charges.
The indictment is seeking at least $40 million from Beam Brothers Trucking and the four named defendants.