Licensing scam suspect released

| 10/3/2001

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 attacks.

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 CDL.

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 results.

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.