Illinois CDL scam nets 40th conviction

| 11/21/2001

The federal Operation Safe Road probe of commercial driver license selling has snared its 40th conviction. Lech Rzedzian pleaded guilty Nov. 16 in U.S. District Court in Chicago to one count of wire fraud and admitted he helped at least 30 people buy commercial driver's licenses in Florida with bribes, according to published reports.

Rzedzian, of Wheeling, IL, placed ads in Polish-language newspapers in Chicago and New York promising licenses for anyone for $1,900, no matter their experience or ability. Federal authorities were among those who answered the ad.

While driving applicants to Florida, Rzedzian, who had copies of written tests, had them memorize the questions and corresponding answers. He apparently concocted the scam after his Illinois CDL was suspended and he was able to fraudulently obtain a new one in Florida.

He had inside help from a third-party tester at a Florida trucking company. Rzedzian reportedly passed along a $200 bribe per applicant to guarantee passing grades on road tests.

As part of a plea bargain with prosecutors, Rzedzian agrees to forfeit the $50,000 he pocketed during the scheme. He also faces less than 10 months in prison because of his cooperation with federal investigators.