Florida CDL tester jailed

| 6/12/2002

Hilary M. Winniczek, a former employee of React Inc., a Tampa truck-driving school, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Chicago to 22 months in jail for helping unqualified truckdrivers obtain Florida CDLs in return for bribes.

Two of the truckers were later involved in two separate accidents with a total of nine fatalities. Typically, the applicants used the Florida CDLs to obtain commercial licenses in Illinois and at least 19 other states.

Working with his partner Tony Puleo, Winniczek was charged with helping more than 1,000 unqualified Eastern European and Russian applicants obtain CDLs in return for $800 to $1,300 in cash bribes. Winniczek also was fined $7,500. Puelo is waiting to be sentenced.

The investigation was part of Operation Safe Road, an effort by a task force involving the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the Postal Inspection Service and Illinois State Police.