A federal judge ordered
the release Monday of a man accused of bribing a Pennsylvania commercial driver's
license examiner and allowed a lower bond payment for another suspect in the
case. This incident is the latest in a series of cases across the nation this
year involving fraudulent CDLs.
Elmeliani Benmoumen and
Kumeit Al-Saraf were arrested last week in what authorities described as a
nationwide plot to illegally obtain hazardous materials permits. They were
among 20 men of Middle Eastern descent nationwide who were arrested.
The Federal Bureau of
Investigation identified 20 suspects after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
amid growing concern about the possible use of hazardous materials in future
attacks. The FBI has since stated the suspects have not been linked to the
Benmoumen is accused
of being a middleman in a scheme to bribe a former Pennsylvania Department
of Transportation license examiner to obtain fraudulent CDLs and hazardous
materials permits. The license examiner, Robert Ferrari, has not been charged
and has denied wrongdoing. Al-Saraf is accused of fraudulently obtaining a
Benmoumen was released
on a $10,000 appearance bond that does not require a payment unless the suspect
violates conditions of release. Al-Saraf was released and ordered to pay 10
percent of a $10,000 bond.
Listed below are a few
of this year's cases involving fraudulent CDLS from the web site of the DOT
Inspector General's office:
Illinois Road Test Examiner
John Conti was sentenced in U.S. District Court last month to 11 months in
jail and fined $4,000 for accepting $90,000 in bribes from driving school
owners to pass hundreds of unqualified drivers on road exams.
Roy E. Clennin, owner
of Clennin Ranch Trucking was sentenced in U.S. District Court last month
in Pueblo, CO, to four months' home confinement and 48 months' supervised
release for unlawful possession of firearms and to falsifying driver logbooks.
Clennin pleaded guilty May 23, 2001 to charges of violating Federal hours
of service regulations and being a felon in possession of firearms.
A trucking company and
several of its officials were fined a total of $50,000 last month by a U.S.
District Court judge for multiple violations of federal regulations limiting
the amount of hours a trucker can drive. David Kistler and Grandson Inc.,
a Lynn Township, PA, trucking company was fined $40,000, while former company
president David DeLong and his mother, Faye DeLong, the company's vice president,
were each fined $5,000. David DeLong was ordered to serve 6 months in jail.
Faye DeLong was sentenced to 6 months' home confinement.
Roy C. Smillie, owner
of CDL Staffing Inc., was fined $4,000 in August and placed on two years'
probation in U.S. District Court in Arlington, TX, for falsifying drug tests
of commercial truckdrivers. CDL Staffing is a temporary-staffing agency providing
motor carrier companies with qualified truckdrivers. Smillie instructed his
employees to destroy records of positive drug tests and record only negative
Alex McLeczynsky, a truckdriving
school instructor, was sentenced in July to 30 months in prison by a federal
judge on bribery charges. Unqualified license applicants would pay him up
to $1,000 to pass the written portion of the examination. McLeczynsky would
then bribe examiners to ensure the applicants got passing grades.
Evelyn Huszar, a former
Illinois driver's license examiner, was sentenced in March in federal court
to four months' home confinement and 12 months' probation for conspiracy to
commit extortion for taking hundreds of bribes from unqualified driver's license
applicants and driving school owners.
A Pennsylvania state
court sentenced William Nicastro to three years in prison in March for using
another trucker's CDL to work at numerous trucking companies. Nicastro, whose
own license is suspended, pleaded guilty in February to charges of forgery,
tampering with identification and securing documents by deception.
Victor Wesley, a former
driver's license examiner in the Illinois secretary of state's office, was
sentenced in January in federal court to six months' home confinement, 60
months' probation and a $1,000 fine for his role in the scandal. Wesley pleaded
guilty to pocketing more than $5,000 in bribes from students and driving school
owners in exchange for issuing Illinois driver's licenses.