IL man pleads guilty in truck bribe case

| 8/13/2002

A former supervisor for a trucking firm in Lyons, IL, pleaded guilty Aug. 9 in Chicago to a federal fraud charge of pocketing bribes in return for allowing about 20 unqualified motorists to drive for the carrier, AP reports.

John Nowak, a former manager of Watkins Motor Lines, admitted giving passing grades on written and road tests for many Eastern European emigrants who couldn't understand English "at even the most basic level," said Nowak's plea agreement.

Nowak acknowledged pocketing bribes of $100 to $200 at a time -- and at least $3,000 total -- to fraudulently qualify drivers to transport freight on Watkins' behalf. His guilty plea brings to 47 the number of convictions so far in the continuing federal Operation Safe Road probe of driver's license selling.