By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Thursday, February 14, 2013
A Virginia trucking company has been accused of mailing written letters to notify drivers to falsify logbooks – even withholding direct deposit paychecks until new logbooks had been faked.
Beam Brothers Trucking Inc., based in Mount Crawford, VA, was reportedly searched Tuesday, Feb. 12, by investigators with the Internal Revenue Service. Media reports said a team of IRS investigators searched the company’s building and shooed news photographers from the property.
According to a search warrant affidavit posted at www.dnronline.com, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Transportation requested the search warrant Feb. 6. The affidavit says federal investigators have testimony from nine witnesses who worked for the company. One witness reportedly saw an argument between the company’s safety director and two supervisors in which the safety director brought up concerns over hours-of-service violations and “relevant U.S. DOT regulations,” court documents state.
The alleged response from supervisors: “We don’t give a $#@*.”
Another witness showed investigators multiple trip routes requiring drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit if driven in one trip. The longest such route – Knoxville, TN, to Hooks, TX, to Dallas, TX – exceeded the 11-hour limit by 20 hours. The employee was later told “the illegal routes will not be fixed because they make the company too much money,” the affidavit reads.
Multiple witnesses told investigators they heard they would be fired for not falsifying logbooks, court documents show. After one driver turned in a logbook showing the actual hours he drove exceeding the 11-hour limit, the company mailed the driver a letter “instructing him to falsify his logbook,” the affidavit reads.
The search warrant was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
Gerry Beam, Beam Brothers Trucking president and CEO, did not return phone messages seeking comment.
In 2010, FMCSA issued the company $31,480 in fines for 23 violations for false reports of records of duty status and 16 counts of violating federal regulations requiring the preservation of driver’s records of duty status supporting documents for six months.
The company later settled for $25,000.
Beam Brothers Trucking also paid FMCSA $20,000 in 2004 after a compliance review found the company had permitted a driver to go beyond 10 hours of driving in one day five times, and allowed a driver to drive after being on duty for 70 hours in eight consecutive days six times.
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